HeartMILake Virtual Race

June 1 @ 12:00 AM - August 1 @ 11:55 PM

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HeartMILake Virtual Race


A portion of this event’s proceeds benefits our featured charity, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Make a splash — and delight in the wonders of Michigan’s natural bodies of water — with our HeartMILake Virtual Race, the perfect way to enjoy summertime in the Wolverine State. Anyone of any age and any ability can participate: you only need a swimsuit (and possibly a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard) and an outdoor location!

How to HeartMILake

Follow these steps to become a HeartMILake participant:

  • Register for this event at RunSignUp; deadline to register is August 1st!
  • Set your personal goal swimming or paddling goal
    • Challenge yourself, but be realistic
    • Be specific (for example, I will swim half a mile; I will paddle for half an hour)
    • Choose a goal that is meaningful and important to you, not to anybody else
  • Head to your chosen venue for your HeartMILake Virtual Race. This can be any lake in public lands managed by the State of Michigan Department of Natural Resources, your favorite local lake, even one of the Great Lakes.
  • BOW Promo 2014 - 34Complete your HeartMILake! Be sure to complete your event between June 1 and August 28!
  • Tell us about your HeartMILake! Head to the 2018 HeartMILake Facebook page, “join” the event if you haven’t already, then upload a photo of your GPS tracker showing your swim/paddle and time, share a selfie of you where you did your HeartMILake, or post a comment telling us about it. You can also post your photos on Instagram and tag us (@epicraces) or tweet about it on Twitter and tag us (@epicraces). Be sure to use the hashtag #HeartMILake!
    • Note: You do not need to “prove” your HeartMILake to us. We encourage you to post about your HeartMILake via our social media, but it is not mandatory!
  • For completing your swimming or paddling goal, we will send you a shirt and a medal! Because these are personal goals versus a set distance or time limit, we are not requiring any specific finish time or completed distance.

All HeartMILake swag will be sent out via Priority Mail on August 28!


Virtual Swim or Paddle, Real Swag!

Every HeartMILake participant will receive a beautiful finisher’s medal created especially for this event, along with a HeartMILake T-shirt. All medals and shirts will be mailed out via Priority Mail on August 28. Wear your HeartMILake shirt all year round to show your support for Michigan’s state parks and your commitment to fitness!

Please note: Epic Races does not ship swag to Canada or internationally. If you are a resident of Canada or another country and wish to participate in an Epic Races virtual event, please provide us with a U.S. shipping address.


Benefits for You and for the Outdoors

Completing the HeartMILake has definite health benefits. Make your swim or paddle more than just a one-time event, and encourage your friends and family to join you as you HeartMILake! Your participation in HeartMILake also has benefits beyond these: a portion of the proceeds from this event go to the Michigan DNR to help fund reforestration efforts and fitness programs in state parks.


Pure Michigan Fit!

The HeartMILake Virtual Race has been endorsed by the Michigan Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health, and Sports. This event is part of the Pure Michigan FITness Series and qualifies for the Pure Michigan FITness Challenge. For details on the Pure Michigan FITness Series and to take part in the Pure Michigan FITness Challenge, click here.


Park Information

A State of Michigan Park permit is required to enter all DNR-managed properties. 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.

Event Schedule

Event schedule not yet available



All finishers receive a HeartMILake Virtual Swim medal and an event T-shirt. Swag will be sent out to all participants on September 1.

HeartMILake Virtual Race Entry Fees


Q. I'm a novice swimmer. Can I still participate?
A. Yes! You set your own personal goal for HeartMILake. We simply ask that you honestly evaluate your swimming abilities and set a goal that is achievable safely.

Q. I've never swum in open water before. Can I use a mask and snorkel?
A. Yes! Masks, snorkels, fins, paddles, kickboards, and personal flotation devices are all allowed. You are striving for your personal swimming goal, so use any of these assistance devices to help you reach it!

Q. Can I water walk?
A. Sorry but no, you must swim in order to participate.

Q. Can I swim in an outdoor pool?
A. Sorry, but no. This is HeartMILAKE... you'll need to participate in a natural open-water environment such as a lake or river.

Q. Can I do the back stroke?
A. Yes! You can use any stroke you wish, even butterfly! We do require that you not swim underwater, however.

Q. Can I wear a wetsuit?
A. Yes! Please make sure you are informed about the temperature of the water the day of your swim. USA Triathlon allows wetsuits up to 78 degrees. We strongly encourage you to not wear a wetsuit if the water temperature is higher than 78 degrees.

Q. Can my dog swim with me?
A. Dogs are not allowed in the water at Department of Natural Resources public lands. Please check the regulations for the body of water where you will be doing your swim.

Q. Can a friend accompany me on/can I use a kayak/canoe/paddleboard?
A. Please check the regulations at your chosen body of water to see if these vessels are allowed in the swimming area.

Q. I don't live in Michigan. Can I still participate?
A. Absolutely! Just pick your favorite outdoor natural body of water (some of you may even have an ocean or gulf!) and go for your swim!

Q. I've changed my mind about participating. 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 events in Southeast Michigan. As with a ticket to any sports or entertainment event, there are no refunds or credits if you choose not to participate.

Q. Something's come up and I'm not going to be able to do my virtual swim. Can I defer my registration to next year?
A. Yes! To defer your registration to 2019, email us at info@epicraces.com. NOTE: The deadline to defer your registration is July 18, 2018 and you can only defer an event once.

Q. I'm not on Facebook. How do I report my swim to you?
A. There is no need to report your swim to Epic Races. Our virtual events are conducted via the honor system. We do encourage you to share your HeartMILake experience with us via photos and comments on our HeartMILake Virtual Swim event page on Facebook or on other social media (e.g. Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat).


June 1 @ 12:00 AM
August 1 @ 11:55 PM
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