Big Bay Relay

Join us for the Queen City Big Bay Relay on Saturday, MAY 18, 2019!

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What is the Big Bay Relay?

Teams come together to conquer a course that stretches from Marquette, MI to Big Bay, MI with friends and a community of runners by their side.

Your relay experience is as competitive as you make it. Rally your team and battle the other teams in your division for the top ranking, or simply make it your goal to cross the finish line together! The Big Bay Relay is about coming together and accomplishing something as a team. From an elite runner to the novice runner, Big Bay Relay is the perfect race for anyone.

When Is It?

The 43rd Annual Race will be held on Saturday May 18th, 2019

Starts @ 8:00am at the Kaufman Sports Complex

Finishes @ Thunder Bay Inn

How It Works

Teams are composed of five runners for adults and up to seven for youth teams. Teams cover 26-ish miles, starting in Marquette, MI and ending in Big Bay, MI. Runners run approximately 1 mile each before handing the baton to a teammate and resting until it is their turn again. While one person is running, the rest of your teammates are on support duty in your race vehicle. As each runner begins, the crew in the vehicle drives ahead and meets them at the exchange point to pick them up and drop off the next runner.

Race History

In spring of 1972, Marquette held its first Big Bay Relay coordinated by Race Director Karen Kunkle and her husband Jack. The first race brought only ten relay teams and has grown to include over fifty teams in the past several years. A note in the Upper Peninsula Road Runners Club named the Big Bay Relay the 1990 Race of the Year.

Some relay teams have been racing for more than 20 years and hold a special place as part of the annual race’s history.

Lisa Holmberg’s family started running the relay in 1984 and continues to hand down the relay legacy and tradition through her family today. Holmberg started running the race with her father when she was just twenty years old. “My dad named our team Dead Last because we were pretty slow. Our team [raced for] about twenty years”.  Holmberg’s father stayed on the team until his retirement in 2007. Today Holmberg’s children are a part of the Kick’n Asphalt team.  Holmberg participates in the all-women’s team, Marga-Relay-Ville, while her parents Tom and Phyllis Burge still participate by driving them during the race. “Every year we take a picture of our current teams. It is funny to look back through the years and see all the people who have come with us on this journey”. Says Holmberg.

If you are an elite runner who wants to compete, or a group of friends that want to try something adventurous, this picturesque relay is for you. For 40 years the Big Bay Relay has been uniting community members, families and friends, and we want you to be a part of this year’s race!

A community member describes the race- “That is what it is about: having fun with your friends and family while doing something healthy”.

Registration is open! Register your team up here.  Or you can print and mail registration form here.  

Registration fees are $130 per team before April 29, $150 (April 30-May 16) and $170 (May 17th) at Friday night registration. Registration divisions include five person all-female, all-male, or mixed teams and seven person junior division teams.  Corporate Sponsorship also available for the event! This year all proceeds benefit the Noquemanon Skijor Club. If you are interested in volunteering or have any questions please contact Brent Skaw @ 715.651.1202, or by e-mail at


2018 RACE RESULTS here

2017 RACE RESULTS here

2016 RACE RESULTS here

2015 RACE RESULTS here

2014 RACE RESULTS  here

2013 RACE RESULTS here

2012 RACE RESULTS here

2011 RACE RESULTS here.

2010 RACE RESULTS here.

For questions, please contact: Brent Skaw @ 715.651.1202 (