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Swim to the Moon

August 21 @ 6:40 AM - 12:00 PM


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Swim to the Moon Open-Water Clinic & Swim
to benefit North Star Reach

Epic Races welcomes a very special guest: Olympic Bronze Medalist Chris Thompson! At 2 PM on Saturday, August 20, Chris will be leading a swim clinic at Halfmoon Lake for all participants registered for the 2016 Swim to the Moon. Learn to be more comfortable in an open-water setting; ask your questions about breathing, body positioning, and more!

Chris’ extensive long-distance swimming career includes U.S. National titles, World championships, Olympic games, and collegiate championships. Starting in 1996, Chris won seven U.S. National titles in the 1500M and 800M freestyle events. At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Chris won the bronze medal for the 1500M men’s freestyle event. He was named a nine-time NCAA All American and two- time Big Ten Swimmer of the Year.

Chris earned his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan in 2002 and his Master’s degree at Eastern Michigan University in 2007. In 2002, Chris began his impressive coaching career, starting with the Ann Arbor Swim Club/Club Wolverine. He trained future Navy Seals at the Navy Special Warfare Prep School from 2008 to 2011. Currently, Chris resides in Michigan, where he has been coaching the Plymouth Canton Cruisers since December 2011.

To recap:

Who: Olympic Bronze Medalist Chris Thompson
What: Swim to the Moon Open-Water Swim Clinic
When: Saturday, August 20 at 2 PM
Where: Halfmoon Lake, 8690 Hankerd Road, Gregory, MI 48137

We are very excited to have Chris lead our Swim to the Moon Open-Water Swim Clinic!


2014-08-09 13.45.21

The Suburban Chevrolet Cadillac Ann Arbor van, ready for action at Swim to the Moon.

What is Swim to the Moon?

It’s an extraordinary open-water swimming adventure through the picturesque Hiland Chain of Lakes near Hell, Michigan. Participants choose their distance — half mile, 1.2 mile, 5K, or 10K — and have the time of their lives swimming through Southeast Michigan’s most sublime waterways, all the while showing support for a very worthy cause: North Star Reach, a camp for children with life-threatening, serious, and chronic medical conditions.

The 5K swim starts on the shores of Patterson Lake at North Star Reach; from there, swimmers head south and east through the heavily forested Pinckney Recreation Area, passing through five lakes along the way. Scattered cottages are the only signs of civilization. 10K race participants start at Halfmoon Lake Beach, swim to the start of the 5K (where their “special needs” bags will be available), then turn around to head back to the shores of Halfmoon Lake Beach. Both the half-mile and the 1.2-mile swim start at Halfmoon Lake Beach. All events finish at the state beach on the east shore of Halfmoon Lake.

NewGovCouncilPlease note that Swim to the Moon is for individual athletes. If you have a group, consider entering our team division!  High School Coaches/Captains: Please contact eva@epicraces.com for a special group discount for your team!

Swim to the Moon is part of the Pure Michigan FITness Series of events and is endorsed by the Michigan Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health, and Sports.


 Swim Courses

10K — The 10K swim course starts at Halfmoon Lake Beach, keeping the buoys on the left all the way to Patterson Lake and and the beach of North Star Reach. At North Star Reach, 10K swimmers exit the water, receive their “special needs” bag, and return to swimming again, keeping the buoys on their left all the way to Halfmoon Lake Beach for the finish.

5K — The 5K swim course begins at Patterson Lake on the beach of North Star Reach, keeping the buoys on the left all the way to Halfmoon Lake Beach for the finish.

1.2 Mile — The 1.2-mile swim course starts at Halfmoon Lake Beach and follows a loop in Halfmoon Lake, returning to Halfmoon Lake Beach.

Half Mile — The half-mile swim course starts at Halfmoon Lake Beach and follows a loop in Red Star Board CompanyHalfmoon Lake, returning to Halfmoon Lake Beach.

Our Epic lifeguards are able to keep our swimmers safe thanks to our official SUP company, Red Star Board Company. We’re very grateful to have Red Star as part of Epic team!

Cut-Off Times

10K: 5 hours (swimmers must reach the turn-around point at North Star Reach within the first two hours)

5K: 3 hours

5K and 10K Team Event

In the team event, each team member swims the entire 5K or 10K. The team that wins boasts the lowest combined time for their members’ five fastest times. 10K swimmers may participate on a 5K team; the first 5K split will be used for the team event. There is no 10K-only team event.

High School Teams
Team Size — a minimum of five swimmers
One Division — mixed male and female
Add the overall finish time of the top five finishers for the team
High School Coaches/Captains:  Please contact eva@epicraces.com for a special group discount for your team!

Open Teams (no affiliation required; these may be informal teams)
Team Size – a minimum of five swimmers
One Division — mixed male and female
Add the overall finish time of the top five finishers for the team


Aid Stations (10K and 5K swimmers only)

10K: 6 aid stations with water, HEED, and GU in addition to a “special needs” bag at the 5K turn-around point. A “special needs” bag is a red drawstring plastic bag, provided by Epic Races, for you to place anything “special” that you may “need” or just want at the turn-around point: food, new goggles, sunscreen, Vaseline, etc. It is optional.

5K: 3 aid stations with water, HEED, and GU.


Free Photo Downloads!

All of the professional sports photography of our events by Greg Sadler Photography is FREE for our participants! That’s right: all of the photos taken of you by Greg Sadler at the 2016 Swim to the Moon, will be free to download…that’s our gift to you for swimming with us. Just another reason our events are so Epic!

In addition to free race pix, each participant will receive:

  • A fabulous finisher’s medal
  • A super-soft, high-quality race T-shirt (shirt sizes not guaranteed after 8/7/16)
  • The best post-swim snacks around
  • A virtual goodie bag filled with offers and discounts from our friends and sponsors
  • 30% off all Aquaman wetsuits and speedsuits


Check Out the Action!

Wondering what it’s like to Swim to the Moon?  Watch the action from our 2015 event here:


And check out our promo video here:



Fundraising for North Star Reach

Please be sure to support the reason we are all able to do this epic swim: North Star Reach. North Star Reach will be fundraising through Swim to the Moon through Epic Races’ Crowdrise fundraising platform. Through the Swim to the Moon Crowdrise page, you will be able to make a donation to North Star Reach or become a fundraiser yourself, encouraging friends, relatives, neighbors, and co-workers to make donations as you swim to the moon on behalf of North Star Reach.


Park Information

A State of Michigan Park permit is required to enter Pinckney Recreation Area. The Recreation Passport is your $11 ticket to Michigan’s state parks and outdoor adventures for an entire year! Michigan residents are not able to purchase a one-day park pass. For State Park entry, all Michigan residents must have a Recreation Passport. For details about the Recreation Passport, click here.

Out-of-state residents will be required to purchase an $9 daily permit or a $31 annual Motor Vehicle Permit.


USAT (USA Triathlon) Information

USAT Sanctioned Event ColorBeginning on January 1, 2016, there will no longer be USAT one-day youth memberships. For youth, there will only be annual memberships available; these will cost $10 per child per year. Non-USAT members who pay a one-day USAT license fee need not present proof of membership. All participants, regardless of whether or not they are USAT members, must present photo ID.

Starting on January 1, 2016, a USAT adult annual membership will cost $50. If you participate in more than three USAT-sanctioned events per year, purchasing a USAT annual membership not only is more cost efficient but also helps fund USAT development and training programs for athletes, coaches, referees, and more! See USA Triathlon for more information and to join as an annual member.

Non-USAT Fee Explanation: The $15/daily adult and $10/annual youth fee for non-USAT members pays for USAT insurance. The entire fee goes to USAT. USAT is the national governing body for the sport of triathlon. While Swim to the Moon is indeed a swimming event and not a triathlon, Epic Races’ affiliation is with USAT.

Race Day Schedule

5:30 AM — Packet Pick-Up and Registration Open
5:30 AM — Body Marking Opens
6:30 AM — Mandatory Meeting on the beach for 10K swimmers
6:30 AM — Shuttle buses to Patterson Lake/North Star Reach start departing every 15 minutes
6:40 AM — 10K swim starts
7:30 AM — Last shuttle to Patterson Lake/North Star Reach departs
8:30 AM — Mandatory Meeting on the beach for 5K swimmers
8:40 AM — 5K swim starts
9:30 AM — Packet Pick-Up and Registration close
10:30 AM — 1.2-Mile and Half-Mile swims start
11 AM — Post-race athlete brunch (approximate time)
12 PM — Awards ceremony (approximate time)


Male and Female 12-13 (0.5-mile and 1.2-mile only), 14-18, 19-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80+


Every finisher receives a Swim to the Moon finisher's medal.

Divisions and Individual Awards:

10K Swim — Awards are given to the first-place overall male/female, the first-place Masters male/female, and the top five finishers in each age group.

5K Swim — Awards are given to the first-place overall male/female, the first-place Masters male/female, and the top five finishers in each age group.

1.2-Mile Swim — Awards are given to the first-place overall male/female, first place Masters male/female, and the top five finishers in each age group.

Half Mile Swim — Awards are given to the first-place overall male/female, first place Masters male/female, and the top five finishers in each age group.

Swimmers wearing wetsuits or using SaferSwimmers will be timed but are ineligible for awards.

Hotel and Camping Information

Chelsea Comfort Inn & Village Conference Center

1645 Commerce Park Dr.
Chelsea, MI 48118

Click Here to Reserve Your Room

Special rate: Mention Swim to the Moon for the special $104 rate for Saturday, August 20, 2016. Reservations must be made by July 20, 2016.
Distance from race: 10.5 miles Camping for tents and RVs is available nearby at the Bruin Lake Modern Campground. A State Recreation Passport is required and reservations for Bruin Lake Campground are strongly recommended. For more details and to make a reservation, visit the campground's web page.

Fairfield Inn by Marriott Ann Arbor

Special rate: Contact the hotel directly and request the Swim to the Moon block to receive the special $109 rate for Saturday, August 20, 2016. Reservations must be made by 12:01 AM on July 21, 2016.
Distance from race: 22 miles

All participants MUST purchase a USAT one-day membership or present proof of USAT annual membership! High School Coaches/Captains: Please contact eva@epicraces.com for a special group discount for your team!

Entry Fees

10K 5K 1.2 Mile
Half Mile
$50 $40 $25 $25 Dec. 10 – Dec. 31, 2015
$60 $50 $30 $30 Jan. 1 – Feb. 29, 2016
$70 $60 $35 $35 March 1 – April 30, 2016
$80 $70 $40 $40 May 1 – June 30, 2016
$90 $80 $45 $45 July 1 – August 18, 2016
$100 $85 $50 $50 Race Weekend


Q. I signed up for the 5K but I think the 10K is more my distance. Can I transfer?
A. Yes! You can switch from your event to any other by logging in to your Run Sign Up account, clicking the My Registered Races button, clicking View/Edit by Swim to the Moon, then clicking the Transfer Event button and following the onscreen instructions. NOTE: the deadline to switch events is Sunday, August 14.

Q. Can I transfer my registration to someone else?
A. Yes! Log into your Run Sign Up account, click the My Registered Races button, click View/Edit by Swim to the Moon, then click Transfer to Another Runner and follow the onscreen instructions. There is a $15 charge to transfer your registration to another event, as well as a Run Sign Up processing fee. NOTE: the deadline to transfer your registration to another person is Sunday, August 7.

Q. I can no longer attend. How do I get a refund?
A. By registering for an Epic Races event, you have purchased a ticket to participate in one of the most exhilarating and enjoyable races in Southeast Michigan. As with a ticket to any sports or entertainment event, there are no refunds or credits if you are unable to attend.

Q. I can no longer attend. Can I defer my registration to next year!
A. Yes! To defer your registration to 2017, email us at info@epicraces.com. NOTE: The deadline to defer your registration is July 10.

Q. I can no longer attend. Can I get my race shirt and medal and bib sent to me?
A. We are happy to send you your race shirt and bib; please send a self-addressed, large shipping envelope with $5 postage and a note with your name, race, event, and shirt size to us at Epic Races, 600 S. Wagner Road, Ann Arbor, MI, 48103. However, our finisher's medals are reserved for those who complete the race.

Q. Where do I park on race morning?
A. Parking will be available at Halfmoon Lake.

Q. What happens if it's raining on race day?
A. Swim to the Moon will be held, rain or shine. Please be sure to dress accordingly for the weather.

Q. Do I need a wet suit?
A. The temperature of Halfmoon Lake should be about 78 degrees on race day. A bathing suit or tri suit on its own should be fine, but wet suits are allowed up to 83.9 degrees. Participants wearing wet suits will be timed but will not be eligible for awards.

Q. Can I wear whatever I choose for this swim?
A. No. USMS swimsuit rules apply. A swimmer shall wear only one swimsuit in one or two pieces. All swimsuits shall be made from textile materials. For both men and women, the swimsuit shall not cover the neck and shall not extend past the shoulder nor below the ankles.

Q. Do I have to wear a swim cap?
A . Yes! All swimmers are required to wear the supplied swim caps in order to be easily spotted by our lifeguards.

Q. Even if I'm bald?
A. Yes, even if you are bald.

Q. What if I have a latex allergy?
A. If you have a latex allergy, you may supply your own swim cap. However, it must be brightly colored so that your lifeguards can easily spot you. No black, grey, navy, or other dark-colored caps allowed.

Q. Can I swim with a life vest on?
A. No. Flotation and buoyancy devices are not permitted. Swimmers may use Safer Swimmers, but those who choose to do so will be ineligible for prizes or awards.

Q. I get chilled easily when I swim. Can I bring along a waterproof heater to keep me warm in the water?
A. No. Devices used to maintain body heat are illegal.

Q. What if I get tired? Can I swim to the shore and rest for a while?
A. No. Swimmers may rest by holding onto nearby structures (docks, rafts) or onto our lifeguards' canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards. You may hold onto these as long as you wish, but timing will not pause and you cannot make any forward progress except by self propulsion (swimming, wading).

Q. How will I know where to swim?
A. The official course shall be determined by floating buoys anchored at each turn. Swimmers must travel around the outside of each of these said buoys. Cutting inside a corner buoy shall be cause for disqualification.

Q. How many aid stations will there be?
A. There will be two aid stations on the 5K/10K course.

Q. My friend and I are doing the race together. Can we swim side by side?
A. You are welcome to do so, but please be courteous to other swimmers around you and trying to pass you.

Q. Are waterproof headphones/ear buds allowed?
A. No. Portable music devices are not allowed in any USAT-sanctioned event. It's important for you as a participant to be able to hear your fellow participants and our course marshals.

Q. When will results be posted and where?
A. You'll find the results by clicking on the blue Results button at the top of this page. Results will be posted within 12 hours after the race ends.

Q. Can someone else pick up my race packet for me?
A. Yes! They will need a photocopy of your photo ID and your USAT ID card, as well as a signed note from you giving them permission to pick up your packet for you.

Q. My race shirt doesn't fit. Can I exchange it?
A. Yes! However, exchanges can only be done after the race and there is no guarantee of size.

Q. I left before results were posted and I won an award! How do I get it?
A. Congratulations! Finisher's and overall awards will be available to pick up at a location to be announced after the race. Please watch for our location announcement on our social media!


August 21
6:40 AM - 12:00 PM
Event Categories:


(734) 585-7101


Packet Pickup Information
Saturday, August 20: 1PM - 4 PM at Halfmoon Lake Beach. Sunday, August 23: 5:30 AM - 9:30 AM at Halfmoon Lake Beach.
Average Water Temperature


8690 Hankerd Road
Gregory, MI 48137 United States
+ Google Map
Course maps: Course Map (10K will start at Halfmoon with buoys on left; 5K starts at North Star Reach)

All courses are subject to change up to and including race day


Year Race Results
2015 10K Overall Results View Results
2015 10K Age-Group Results View Results
2015 5K Overall Results View Results
2015 5K Age-Group Results View Results
2015 1.2-Mile Age-Group Results View Results
2015 Half-Mile Results View Results
2015 10K Wetsuit Results View Results
2015 5K, 1.2-Mile, Half-Mile Wetsuit Results View Results
2015 Team Results View Results
2014 10K Overall by Gender View Results
2014 5K Overall by Gender View Results
2014 10K Overall Combined View Results
2014 5K Overall Combined View Results
2014 10K Age-Group Results View Results
2014 5K Age-Group Results View Results
2014 10K Wetsuit Results View Results
2014 5K, 1.2-Mile, and Half-Mile Wetsuit Results View Results
2014 1.2-Mile and Half-Mile Results View Results
2014 Team Results View Results
2012 Results View Results
2011 Results View Results
2010 Results View Results

This event is made possible by:

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36 Responses to “”

  1. Pete July 15, 2015 at 3:17 PM #

    Would you consider starting this race a little later, perhaps 7:00 or even 7:30? It was almost impossible to see the sighting buoys at the start last year, and that race was earlier in the year. On the 23rd it’s gonna be pretty darn dark. Please think about it. Thanks!

    • Eva July 16, 2015 at 5:50 PM #

      Yes, Pete. We are looking into the best time to start to find a balance between daylight and boat traffic. Very likely it will be at least 20 minutes later than the posted time. We will be sure to have at least as much (or as little) 😉 daylight as last year. Thanks for bringing it up.

  2. Kevin H July 29, 2015 at 9:18 AM #

    You guys put on a great event last year. I did the 5k in 2014 and looking forward to doing the 10k this year. Really looking forward to this event! 🙂

    • ana July 29, 2015 at 9:45 AM #

      Thanks, Kevin! We’re looking to everyone having a great swim. Hoping for clear skies!

  3. Mark August 5, 2015 at 8:41 PM #

    I did this race the first two years and am excited to be coming back after some time off. Do you have old archives from those years where I might be able to look up my times?

  4. Joanne August 7, 2015 at 5:11 PM #

    Hi there, are there recommended spectating spots along the course? Will there be a spectator map at packet pickup? Thanks.

    • Eva August 7, 2015 at 6:07 PM #

      There really are not any good spectating spots- sorry! If you want to spectate, we recommend volunteering to be a paddler.

  5. Helen August 15, 2015 at 6:22 PM #

    Hi Eva:

    Is there a psyche sheet for the 10K? So excited! Can’t wait to return to see our son Philip swim it again!

  6. Patrick Florian August 16, 2015 at 1:59 PM #

    So does the 5k start @ 8am or 8:40 I have seen both times listed. Looking forward to this event.

    • ana August 16, 2015 at 2:04 PM #

      The 5K starts at 8:40 AM. If you could tell us where you saw an 8 AM start time, we’d appreciate it so we can correct that. It’s correctly listed on the event page schedule and in the race-day guide. 🙂

    • Patrick Florian August 17, 2015 at 8:47 AM #

      After filling out app. I printed out the confirmation sheet and on the second page it says for the 5k to start at 8am the 10k is still correct at 6:40am but 8:40 works for me Looking foreword to doing this

      • Ana August 17, 2015 at 8:59 AM #

        Ah! We’ll go check on our registration site. Thanks for the head’s up and see you this weekend!

  7. Laura August 16, 2015 at 6:00 PM #

    Are the swimmers allowed to wear underwater MP3 players during the race? I’m a newbie and don’t really know the ins and outs! Thanks!

    • ana August 16, 2015 at 6:06 PM #

      Not a problem! We’re very happy to answer questions. Swim to the Moon is a USA Triathlon-sanctioned event and, as such, no portable electronic devices of any kind are allowed. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any other questions!

  8. Beth August 17, 2015 at 12:08 PM #

    Swimmers on a team are still eligible for individual awards, correct?

    • Ana August 17, 2015 at 12:20 PM #


  9. Beth August 18, 2015 at 8:51 AM #

    The Swim to the Moon event site shows the OWS clinic at 2 pm on Saturday, but the race day info schedule says 3 pm. Which is correct?

    • Ana August 18, 2015 at 10:00 AM #

      The clinic with Chris is at 2 PM. Thanks for letting us know of the typo!

  10. Ben August 20, 2015 at 7:28 PM #

    Do you know if there is parking at the start site of the 5k? My friends and I were thinking of taking 2 cars, one to the start, and one to the finish, so we wouldn’t have to take the shuttle bus. Is that feasible?

    • ana August 20, 2015 at 7:51 PM #

      There is no parking at the 5K start site; we have access only for the provided shuttle buses. The gates will be locked to all other traffic. Sorry!

  11. Laura August 21, 2015 at 5:11 PM #

    Where do our significant others “hang out” before the race? Can they be there at the beginning of the 5K or do they have to stay at the finish at Halfmoon?

    • ana August 21, 2015 at 9:13 PM #

      Only the participants are allowed at the 5K start. All friends, supporters, and loved ones need to stay at the 10K start/finish area at Halfmoon Lake Beach.

  12. Maria August 21, 2015 at 11:33 PM #

    How soon do you post the results, my daughter is swimming the 10k and we couldn’t go to watch her, but i will like to know how she did. And do you have pictures i could buy? Thank you for your help.

    • ana August 22, 2015 at 12:45 AM #

      We post results by race-day evening; you’ll find them by clicking the blue Results button at the top of the Swim to the Moon page. Event photos are usually available several days after the race; they will be linked to the Photo Gallery button on the Swim to the Moon page. Downloads of all event photos are FREE!

  13. Belinda August 22, 2015 at 10:10 AM #

    I know this is last minute but I’m a kayaker who’s trained as a safety boater. I’m available to help out if you need it.

    • ana August 22, 2015 at 10:49 AM #

      We are very happy to have your help! Look for an email from us with details; just sent it out. Thank you!

  14. Julia March 18, 2016 at 5:22 PM #

    If you register for one distance and decide later that you want to drop to a shorter one, can you?

    • Eva March 18, 2016 at 5:38 PM #


  15. Rachel Filar April 20, 2016 at 7:34 PM #

    Hello! Excited to find this open water swim race. We have a group of swimmers coming from Lapeer. Not sure if this has been answered yet, but…is Chris Thompson still doing an open water clinic in June? This page says he is but when you click on the clinic page it says someone else is teaching the clinic. Are there two clinics?

    Also, are these lakes all-sports lakes?

    thank you!

    • ana April 20, 2016 at 8:16 PM #

      Hi Rachel! Glad that you have found our event! Right now, we are only just starting to organize this year’s Swim to the Moon. Chris has graciously led our clinic — and has participated — in the race these past couple of years, and we are going to do our best to bring him back again. We also have an Open-Water Swim Clinic on June 12, led by World Champion open-water swimmer Erica Rose Dancik. Two different events, two great ways to get your feet wet. Hope you’ll consider coming to both!

  16. Kelsey Gilbert May 10, 2016 at 11:43 AM #

    Hello, I registered for this year’s 10K swim and want to fund raise also. I set up my fundraising page and was getting ready to email family and friends to ask for their support and now cannot find my page. There is only one team listed on the donations page.

    Just wondering if I need to sign up to fundraise again, or if the page will be back up soon?


    • ana May 10, 2016 at 12:01 PM #

      Hi Kelsey! All fundraising for Swim to the Moon needs to go through our fundraising platform on Crowdrise. To sign up to fundraise for the event, go to http://www.crowdrise.com/swimtothemoon, then click the Set Up Your Fundraiser button. Choose Start Your Own Fundraiser, then fill in the information on the screen to get started!

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