REED CITY — Veteran runners, kids, casual joggers and those simply wanting to increase their fitness level, still have the opportunity to register for a number of events that will take place during this year’s Wheatlake Festival of Races.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, May 16, at the Reed City Depot. Previously dubbed the Wheatlake Wellness Walk and 5K, the day will host four events for participants of all ages and abilities, including a half marathon, 5K run, Kids Wellness Dash and a walk.

"Planning is going very well," said Megan Biller, event chair and local runner. "We have a lot of great help and are marking things off the list. As race day gets closer, the committee will be meeting more to make sure everything runs smoothly on May 16."

The half marathon registration begins at 6 a.m. in the Big Rapids Middle School gym, and buses for the runners will depart at 6:45 a.m. for the Reed City Depot.

The race starts at 8 a.m. near the Reed City Depot, then follows the White Pine Trail and riverwalk, ending at the band shell behind Big Rapids Middle School. The course closes at 11 a.m., finishers will receive their medals at the band shell and awards will be held at 11:05 a.m. at the band shell.

The cost to participate in the half marathon increases as time passes. There is a $75 registration fee from March 1 through April 30 and an $85 registration fee from May 1 through May 16. Already, 30 people have signed up to take part.

Big Rapids resident Christina Root is already registered as one of those participants.

"I've done half marathons in the past, which I was happy with, but I would have liked to have done better," Root said. "I signed up for this one because I wanted to be supportive."

Already training for the event, mostly on a treadmill, she hopes to be successful with her friends by her side on the trail.

"I would like to finish in two hours," Root added. "I'm anxious to see how the course is to run from Reed City to Big Rapids. I like that part of the trail and I've biked it before, but I've never run it."

Besides the half marathon, another event is sure to draw groups and individuals who are looking for a more manageable length to run or walk.

The 5K event will begin with registration at 7 a.m. at Hemlock Park in Big Rapids, with the race starting at 8 a.m. at Hemlock Park, runners will travel along the riverwalk and end at the band shell near Big Rapids Middle School. The registration fee is $25. Walking the course also is allowed.

The Kids Wellness Dash for children up to 12 years old is slated to begin at 10 a.m., with the runners taking off from the starting line at 10:30 a.m. at the Big Rapids Middle School playground. There is a $1 registration fee, and awards will take place immediately following the event.

For those interested in the walk, registration will begin at 10 a.m. and the walk will start at 11 a.m. The course will begin and end at the band shell near Big Rapids Middle School. The cost to register is $15.

Hydration stations, resting stops and bathrooms will be available throughout each course.

All participants will receive a t-shirt and goody bag. Proceeds from the Wheatlake Festival of Races will benefit the Susan P. Wheatlake Cancer and Wellness Fund, an endowment of the Spectrum Health Foundation — Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals.

"We are very excited about the number of participants thus far," Biller said. "Our goal is to continue to get the word out about our event and hopefully those numbers will continue to rise. We also are hoping that those who have signed up — or are thinking about it — will grab some of their friends to join them in the training and race."

For more information, find the event on Facebook or call (231) 592-4327.