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Race Updates & Results

You can find your results at Epic Race Timing.

Race Update #1

Note that shirts will be ordered tomorrow. You must order your shirt by midnight tonight (Sunday) to guarantee one.

Thanks for racing the Dirty Duel, the only race of its kind on earth (or Earth). There’s no pressure to set a personal record on Saturday. Just enjoy a paradoxical mix of fun and suffering.

650 of you crazies have signed up. We have room for 75 more so if you know of anyone who might be interested, tell them to get registered by Thursday, Nov. 7, at midnight!

Warning: long update ahead, but it should answer all your questions.

Old Man Winter will very likely make an appearance before the race. That usually makes for a comfortable run, but pre- and post-race less so.

  • Before the race: A warm-up run to get the blood pumping will improve your performance and keep you warm. Run the first part of the course so you know where you’re going.
  • Right before the start: Throw on an old coat or sweatshirt as you wait for your wave and then toss it on our gear tarp near the start.
  • After the race: Bring dry clothes to swap into. At the least, get your sweaty base layer away from your skin. Makes doughnut consumption more enjoyable too.

Thanks to Our Sponsors & Key Partners

  • Merrell. Our presenting sponsor. Thanks for five $170 Merrell Money gift cards for shoes and apparel to the overall under 40 and 40+ winners and a middle of the packer, along with helping us provide you a camp-style coffee mug.
  • Gazelle Sports. For gift certificates for the top 2 in every age group plus race support (promotion, check-in space, hold room, etc.). Our most faithful sponsor since 2011.
  • Metro Health Sports Medicine. Providing sports medicine and medical first responder services at the race. Stop by their tent if you have a need or just a question.
  • Total Health Chiropractic. A professional non-invasive pain clinic providing relief from arthritis, spinal stenosis, herniated and bulging discs, sciatica, degenerative disc disease, and chronic neck and back pain. Stop suffering! Schedule today.
  • Founders Brewing Co. for $300 in gift cards to one of the best breweries in the world, right in downtown Grand Rapids (if you didn’t know). Make a trip to their brew pub after the race.
  • Jamie Geysbeek Photography. Jamie takes amazing photos of our race as well as weddings, portraits and other events. Smile as you run by him. If you can.
  • Icespike. For 12 sets of Icespike cleats for our raffle. Great for running on tough trails and in winter conditions. Buy them at Gazelle Sports or online.
  • Zanfel. We shouldn’t have any poison ivy on the trail but if you get the rash, Zanfel can help you get rid of it. We’ll give away a bunch of tubes in the raffle.
  • Tim Parks LC. A great resource for promotional products and decorated clothing for your business or event. Tim has provided shirts for our races since 2011. He also crafted the snazzy barnwood trophies some of you will take home.
  • Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery. For hosting the race once again and offering discounts on the donuts and cider. Check out their gift barn and winery for Christmas gifts (and to gift yourself some wine perhaps).
  • Kent County Parks for granting a permit for use of Provin Trails. Learn more about the Kent County Parks Foundation and support our great county park system. Thanks also to Kuyper College for the use of their trail.

Thanks to Our Charity Partner and Volunteers

  • Our charity partner for the Dirty Duel is 20 Liters. 20 Liters creates and delivers innovative, human-centered solutions to make clean, safe drinking water for the areas of the world that need it most. We’ll provide a portion of race profits to 20 Liters and they’ll support the race with many volunteers.
  • Thanks to all of the other volunteers as well. We try to keep volunteer training to a minimum so if they don’t know the answer to a question, find Greg VanTol or myself (or ask another runner since many have done the race before).

Age Groups and Awards

  • 12 age groups again this year: 14 and under, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65+
  • 1st place overall, under 40 and 40+ receive $170 Merrell shoe/apparel gift cards and massive, handcrafted wood trophies.
  • Top 2 in each age group get a wood medal and $15/$10 Gazelle Sports gift certificates (use in store only at GR, Kzoo, Holland, Birmingham or Northville). 3rd place gets a wood medal.
  • Metal medals to all kids 12 and under at the tents after the race.
  • Raffle after awards

Schedule for 11/8 and 11/9
4:00-7:00 pm      early check-in at Gazelle Sports

7:30-8:40 am      check in at Robinette’s
8:40                    leftover shirts up for same
9:00-9:15            race starts (many waves)
9:20                    donuts, cider, bonfire
10:15                  awards ceremony, raffle

Racer List
Check to see who else is racing here.

Pick from two very fun and challenging trails which have been run many times and adjusted until they took the same amount of time to finish with the same amount of effort, as best as we possibly could accomplish this. No need to tell us which one you will do – just pick at the start and go! They split off just a few feet after the start. Here are the course maps.

Short & Brutal. 3.1 miles. LEFT AT START. Large sections of off-trail running define this trail along with its unique obstacles. It’s a roller coaster like its sister trail but instead of constant small ups and downs, it features fewer but more severe climbs and descents. Make it through Provin Trails in one piece, grab water or Gatorade as you cross the 4 Mile and Bird intersection and transition to Robinette’s, and then take on the roller coaster hills of Robinette’s north woods trails. You’re mostly on trail in this section. From there, it’s a wild grande finale as you must make your way through the cornfield/corn maze. Bushwhack through the corn or make use of the maze’s easier but longer trails. Your choice.

Long & Difficult. 3.4 miles. RIGHT AT START. Fewer people run Long & Difficult so if you are concerned about passing and congestion, this is your trail. Starts with a nice warm-up through the south orchard following by a little tricky singletrack, the mostly flat and fast Kuyper College trails and then back to the Robinette’s orchard, with an aid station at the Gift Barn, crossing over 4-Mile and tackling Robinette’s north woods. Lots of ups, downs and turns, considered the most difficult trail in West Michigan mile for mile (but still easier than Short & Brutal). Join the Short & Brutal racers with a fun dash through the corn, using the corn maze trails or bushwhacking through them. You pick!


  • The courses will likely be signed with arrows by Tuesday so you can pre-run them before Saturday. Bring the course map for extra guidance.
  • If you run the Provin section of Short & Brutal as your warm-up on Saturday, please report back to the check-in tent and let us know if any arrows have been torn down. We would be really grateful.

Race/Bib Number Assignment

  • We will email you the final racer list on Friday. Use it to look up your race number as well as confirm your age group.
  • Provide your race number at check-in to help things go faster and keep lines short.

Early Check-in

  • 4-7 pm Friday at Gazelle Sports Grand Rapids (3930 28th ST, Grand Rapids). Community Room in back.
  • Allows you show up later on race day.
  • You can grab friends’ bibs and shirts since waivers were signed online. Just make sure they know you are doing this!
  • See the same-day check-in steps below.


  • Please park in one of the areas highlighted on this parking/start/finish map, north or south of 4 Mile.
  • Parking attendants will guide you if you’re not sure where to park. Do NOT try to park at odd angles or squeeze in beyond the normal row. Park away from flags and tape that indicate one of the race courses (SE corner of corn field by two track, SW corner of Gift Barn gravel lot)
  • Note that on the north side of 4 Mile, there is more parking north of the first row of trees.
  • If you are coming late, Robinette’s lots may be full. If so, park at St. Luke’s Church lot on the other side of the E. Beltline, entrance off 4 Mile. Be careful crossing the E. Beltline and cross at the crosswalk. Thank you St. Luke’s!
  • The paved parking lot in front of the Apple Haus will be closed to all vehicles except handicapped or non-race customers.

Same-day Check-in
The race will be held at Robinette’s Apple Haus and Winery (3142 4 Mile RD NE). You may check in on Saturday between 7:30-8:30 (we’ll take you later but wait too long and you’ll be in a later wave then you want).

  1. Look up your bib number if you didn’t via the email we send Friday. Provide at check-in table.
  2. Get your race number/bib, pins, and shirt if you ordered one. If you need to switch shirt sizes or didn’t get a shirt but want one, check in around 8:45 am and see if we have any left. $15. We have to first make sure everyone who paid for a shirt gets one and in their size.
  3. At 8:45 all shirts are up for grabs. If you bought a shirt and show up really late to find out shirts are gone, we will return your $15. We have no way of knowing who will show up late or not.
  4. Can’t make the race but want your shirt? You can still pick up your shirt at early or same-day check-in. If you don’t pick it up by then, we reserve the right to give it out if we have a shortage and will return your $15.
  5. Pin your race number anywhere above the knee on your front side, outer layer. It must be visible to register your time. The chip is on the race number. Your time begins when you cross the start mat and ends when you cross the finish mat. No severe bending or cutting.
  6. Visit the sponsor booths behind the Gift Barn.
  7. All portajohns are behind the check-in tents. Line up in one queue that goes back toward the east (East Beltline).
  8. You may pre-run any section of the course except the cornfield (we want to keep that fresh and a surprise). Watch for vehicles.
  9. Gather behind the gift barn at 8:45.
  10. We’ll put out a tarp along the Apple Haus where you can shed layer(s) right before the race. No valuables please. We will not have a bag check. Parking lots are very close so you can run items back to your vehicle if you have any concerns or bring a bag with your name on it.
  11. Short & Brutal runners: Look for signs with 7, 8, 9 and 10+ minute mile on them. The mile pace number will be your normal minute per mile pace for a 5K road race. Position yourself at the start based on these signs. The fastest runners must be in the first wave so you are directly racing against your competition.
  12. If you are doing Long & Difficult, you may start in a wave 1-2 minutes faster than what’s on the sign. Your trails will not be crowded and the more who start early, the more who will cross 4 Mile early and avoid possible conflicts with the fastest runners from both courses. See below.
  13. FASTEST RUNNERS AND SLOWEST RUNNERS/WALKERS: Because of wave start times and speed differential, the fastest finishers may be crossing 4 Mile north to south toward the finish line as the less speedy runners/walkers from the Long and Difficult course are crossing 4 Mile from south to north. Slower runners/walkers please give right of way to those finishing the race as you will have the ability to stop easier and they may be racing side by side for first place. Volunteers will also be stationed here to help.

We have Dirty Duel pints made for the race again this year. $10 at check-in or after the race. See the website for the other items for sale including sweatshirts, shirts, buffs, and stickers.

Consider Bringing with You

  • Protective eyewear. I will trim branches as best I can but with off-trail sections there are no guarantees. The corn stalks still contain corn and scratchy surfaces and can be hazardous to the eyes. If you choose not to wear glasses, get your arms up  to protect your face there.
  • Old sweatshirt or coat to throw off onto our gear tarp at start. The tarp will be against the Apple Haus wall just south of the start.
  • Shoes with good traction, Icespike cleats or other traction devices.

General Course Info

  • The trails have been tested several times to ensure they take the same amount of time to complete (within a handful of seconds). You will not know from the results who did which trail since we allow people to decide at the last second. Be aware that the fastest runners generally pick Short & Brutal. The fact that most top finishers ran Short & Brutal is not an indication that it was faster to complete than Long & Difficult but rather due to who was attracted to Short & Brutal. Top area runners gravitate toward that trail for the extra challenge it offers.
  • Long & Difficult actually has the potential to be faster because it always has fewer people racing it. Short & Brutal has the potential to be faster if you are an above average hill climber and descender, especially off the trail (because we tested the courses at a pace we thought represented average ability for all aspects of each course).
  • Please take a look at the course map to get a general idea of where you are going. Review the start, finish and road crossings in particular for the trail you decide to do.
  • Arrows will be used more than flags this year because of better visibility. Caution tape will block off some trails and may line one or both sides of off-trail sections but we’ll mostly use arrows and some flags.
  • Keep in mind that sometimes you’ll be on a wide, established trail and then veer off onto a narrow singletrack. Each year a handful of people, usually among the leaders, miss the correct route when the lead person is not watching the arrows/flags and goes the wrong way. Those in the pack behind him or her follows! You need to stay focused on the arrows and flags throughout the race. Give yourself enough space behind the person in front of you so you can see upcoming course markings. 
  • You do not need to decide which course to run until the start.
  • Please start on the right side if you are doing Long & Difficult and left side for Short & Brutal. Long & Difficult will take a sharp right turn and Short & Brutal takes a sharp left turn almost immediately after the start. Same as last year. See the start/finish map, especially if you are in the front pack. We will not have anyone on a bike leading you out.
  • Your bib has a chip to track when you cross the start and finish lines. We’ll be sending you out in “ripples” rather than waves, maybe 20 people every 30 seconds. We need to get everyone started by 9:15 as the top finishers will finish around 9:20.
  • I will blow the bulk of leaves off the trail before the race. However, expect slick footing on roots, leaves, mud and/or ice. Roots will not be marked. The trails are full of them. Please keep your eye on the trail and adjust your speed and stride in sketchy areas. For new trail racers: if you take a dive, roll onto a shoulder rather than try to catch yourself with your hands (broken wrist or arm much more likely than shoulder injury).
  • Aid stations with water and Gatorade will be available at the start/finish and at roughly the half-way mark on each course (either right before or after 4 Mile Rd).
  • Kent County Sheriff deputies will be on hand to ensure safe crossings over roads. Please still look for traffic as you cross.

Trail Tips/Etiquette

  • Make sure you are in the correct position in the “pace line” when the trail narrows. Just because it’s singletrack doesn’t mean you can’t pass. Look for any small opening in the vegetation, announce “on your left/right” before starting the pass, and then burst ahead (the person ahead should shift to the opposite side to give you a little extra room to pass). While the trail width is narrow, much of it runnable just beyond the actual dirt trail. You must be aggressive or else a long line will form making it hard for anyone to pass. The person ahead of you will prefer you in front of them rather than nipping at their heels.
  • If you plan to walk the race, that’s cool. Please start in the back of the last ripple as you probably know. We may need to start the raffle and award ceremony before you get back so people don’t freeze and can get home in a timely manner. We expect police officer support until you finish, but please watch for traffic when you cross either way.
  • You may encounter other trail users and Kuyper College students during your run. Please alert them if approaching from behind.
  • Please no music during the race. With so many runners on the trail and the need to listen to volunteers and police officers, it’s imperative that you hear well. Plus we want to encourage a fun, community atmosphere, impossible if everyone is in their own world.
  • “Bandit” racers will be locked up in the stockade. If a friend runs the race un-registered, they are at risk during a medical emergency and it’s unfair to those who paid to race and race organizers. We reserve the right to ban un-registered racers from all of our races for several years and toss them in the rotten apple heap.
  • A few volunteer course marshals will be on the course, especially at key intersections and crossings. They will have a mobile phone to call 911 if you get hurt. Rockford Ambulance and Metro Health Sports Medicine will be on site.
  • If someone is injured, please stop to help them. Look for a volunteer so they can contact medical support and get a vehicle closer to them. If you basically threw away your race to help someone, we will give you race credits and/or prizes. Or, if you were in an early wave, you may even be able to start the race over.


  • For those of you new to racing, a good rule of thumb is to dress as if it’s 10-20 degrees warmer than the feels-like temperature and don’t forget that the wind will be calmer once you get in the woods.
  • We will race in heavy rain, wind or snow if necessary. Pretty much anything besides a thunderstorm or tornado.
  • We’ll hang out in the Apple Haus (carbo-loading on donuts) or vehicles to wait out any severe weather.
  • If you encounter severe weather out on the course, find shelter at a nearby building, Kuyper College or back at the start/finish or your vehicle.
  • Nothing in the forecast hints at prolonged severe weather, but we reserve the right to cancel the race if conditions will endanger participants. We will do everything possible to get the race in. Full refunds would not be available if the race were canceled due to thousands of dollars in up-front costs but we would provide a discount code for at least a small credit for next year (unlike all those national chain races).


  • Awards and raffle prizes will be given out at a ceremony following the race. Throw some dry clothes on and hang with us for the ceremony if you can.
  • Help yourself to some free homemade cider and a doughnut or cup of hot applesauce from Robinette’s. Apples too. Please limit it to two donuts each.
  • Check out the sponsor booths and the bonfire we’ll hopefully have going.
  • If you must leave early, you can find results at Epic Race Timing or in our Race Recap email on Sunday or Monday.
  • What’s next? There’s a 3-race trail running series called Trails to Hope at Cannonsburg Ski Area, including a fun after dark race the evening of the Dirty Duel.

We’re looking forward to seeing you on November 8 or 9!

Mark, for Greg
Dirty Duel/Michigan Adventure Racing

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