Swim to the Moon Race-Day Guide


Welcome, water lovers! We’re very excited that you’ve chosen to swim to the moon with us! Read on to get all the important info so that you’re ready for the big day, Sunday, August 20. Check back here for updates or follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Last Updated: 19 August 2017


Participant Look-Up

Checking to see if your friend/boss/rival will be swimming to the moon, too? You can search the participant list here.


Packet Pick-Up

We’ve got two opportunities for you to get your Swim to the Moon materials:

  • Saturday, August 19 from 1 PM to 4 PM at Halfmoon Lake Beach (race venue).
  • Sunday, August 20 from 5:30 AM to 9:30 AM at Halfmoon Lake Beach (prior to the race).

Participants must bring photo ID to Packet Pick-Up. No ID, no race! Annual USAT members must also bring their USAT card. Without the card, a one-day membership must be purchased at packet pick-up.

If you are picking up a packet for someone else, you must bring a photocopy of that person’s photo ID (and USAT card, if applicable).

All participants picking up their packets on Saturday, August 19 will receive a special Swim to the Moon athlete goodie bag! In addition, the first 500 participants to pick up their packets will receive free eclipse-viewing glasses to use during the total solar eclipse that travels across the country the day after the race. Celebrate this astronomical event with our virtual 2.4K!


Sweet Swim to the Moon Stylings

Make your open-water swim experience even more epic with our eye-catching Swim to the Moon gear! Available in both ladies’ and men’s styles, our swimsuits feature a galactic pattern — after all, the moon’s in outer space! — with our race name, distances, and state in the main design.

Looking for something to wear outside of the water? Consider one of our long-sleeved Swim to the Moon tops! Choose from our super-soft hooded T-shirt, our eco-fleece full-zip hoodie, and our finisher’s shirt (in both 5K and 10K varieties)!

All pre-ordered items will be ready at race weekend Packet Pick-Up! Suits are available in ladies’ and men’s sizes 32 through 40. Long-sleeved tops are available in traditional-cut sizes Small through 2XL. Supplies are limited; when they’re sold out, they’re gone! To place your swimsuit order:

  • Log into your Run Sign Up account
  • Click My Registered Races
  • Locate Swim to the Moon on your race list and clicking Manage Registration
  • Click the Add Ons button
  • Follow the onscreen instructions to place your order


Size chart for swimsuits.

To place your shirt/hoodie order, go to https://epic-races.myshopify.com/


Directions and Details

Swim to the Moon will be held at Halfmoon Lake Beach, Pinckney State Recreation Area, 8690 Hankerd Road in Gregory, MI, 48137. Once you are past the ranger guardhouse, please follow our staff/volunteers’ instructions on where to park for the event.

Pinckney State Recreation Area requires a Michigan Recreation Passport for entry into the park.

Michigan Residents: If you did not purchase a Recreation Passport upon renewing your license plates, you will need to purchase one for $11. Michigan residents may not purchase the daily permit.

Out-of-State Participants: You will be required to purchase a daily permit for $9 or a annual permit for $31. If you are coming from out of state, you will need to pay the daily permit fee both for packet pick-up and race day if you do not have an annual pass. If you come to the park on a bike, roller skates, skateboard, horse, or walking, you will not need to pay for a daily permit.

The park rangers will have in-state and out-of-state permits available for purchase on both days. If, for some reason, you park your car without a permit, you will receive what appears to be a ticket on your car. It is not a ticket; it is a notice. Please take the notice to the entry gate and pay the daily or annual fee. Please direct any questions to the DNR.

Epic Races is thrilled to have our wonderful state park system for our events, for training, and sometimes just to visit and enjoy. These permits is how our parklands are supported.


Race-Weekend Schedule

Saturday, August 19

1 PM — Packet Pick-Up and Registration Open

2 PM — Open-Water Swim Clinic with Olympic bronze medalist Chris Thompson.

4 PM — Packet Pick-Up and Registration Close


Sunday, August 20

5:30 AM — Packet Pick-Up and Registration open

5:30 AM — Body Marking opens next to Packet Pick-Up

6:30 AM — Mandatory Meeting for all 10K swimmers on Halfmoon Lake Beach

6:30 AM — Shuttle buses to 5K start line at Patterson Lake/North Star Reach begin leaving every 15 minutes from the upper parking lot at Halfmoon Lake

6:40 AM — First 10K wave starts

6:43 AM — Second 10K wave starts

6:46 AM — Third 10K wave starts

7:30 AM — Last shuttle bus to Patterson Lake/North Star Reach leaves

8:30 AM — Mandatory Meeting for all 5K swimmers on Patterson Lake Beach

8:40 AM — First 5K wave starts

8:43 AM — Second 5K wave starts

8:46 AM — Third 5K wave starts

8:49 AM — Fourth 5K wave starts

9:00 AM — 10K awards available for pick up

9:30 AM —  Packet Pick-Up and Registration closes

10:00 AM — 5K awards available for pick up

10:20 AM — Mandatory Meeting for all 1.2-mile and half-mile swimmers on Halfmoon Lake Beach

10:30 AM — First 1.2-Mile wave starts

10:33 AM — Second 1.2-Mile wave starts

10:45 AM — Half-mile swim starts

11:00 AM — Post-race athlete food opens (approximate time)

11:00 AM — 1.2-Mile and Half Mile awards available for pick up


Race Details

Water Temperature: The current water temperature is 75 degrees.

Wave Information: The first wave starts at 6:40 AM. Wave information is as follows:

  • 6:40 AM — 10K swimmers
  • 6:43 AM — 10K swimmers
  • 6:46 AM — 10K swimmers
  • 8:40 AM — 5K swimmers
  • 8:43 AM — 5K swimmers
  • 8:46 AM – 5K swimmers
  • 8:49 AM — 5K swimmers
  • 10:30 AM — 1.2-mile swimmers
  • 10:33 AM — 1.2-mile swimmers
  • 10:45 AM — half-mile swimmers

Swim caps will be provided for you at Packet Pick-Up. Do not trade swim caps with another participant! You must use the provided swim cap. Note: if you have a latex allergy, you may wear your own brightly colored cap (no dark-colored swim caps; our lifeguards must be able to see you). Please let a race official know that you are wearing a silicone cap due to allergies.

Wetsuits: If the water temperature is 83.9º or below, wetsuits will be allowed. Wetsuit swimmers will be timed but will not be eligible for awards. Epic Races officials will be asking all participants wearing wetsuits for their race numbers prior to the start of their waves.

Swimsuits: Epic Races follows the swimsuit guidelines set by FINA, the international governing body for swimming, diving, open-water swimming, synchronized swimming, and water polo:

BL 8.4 For open water swimming competitions with water temperature from 20°C [68°F], swimsuits for both men and women shall not cover the neck, nor extend past the shoulder, nor extend below the ankle. Subject to these specific shape specifications, swimsuits for open water swimming competitions shall further comply with all other requirements applicable to swimsuits for pool swimming competition.

BL 8.5 From January 1, 2017, for open water swimming competitions in water with temperature below 20°C [68ºF], men and women may use either swimsuits (BL 8.4) or wetsuits. When the water temperature is below 18°C [64.4ºF], the use of wetsuits is compulsory. For the purpose of these rules, wetsuits are swimsuits made of material providing thermal insulation. Wetsuits for both men and women shall completely cover torso, back, shoulders and knees. They shall not extend beyond the neck, wrists and ankles.

Participants may also wear one- or two-piece triathlon suits.

Snorkels/Scuba Masks: USA Triathlon permits the use of scuba masks and snorkels.

SaferSwimmers: SaferSwimmers are allowed. However, those who use them will start in the last wave with the Wetsuit Division and will not be eligible for awards.


Unacceptable Gear-Check Bag (left). Acceptable Gear-Check Bag (right).

Gear-Check Bags: 5K swimmers will receive a clear plastic gear-check bag, which they will identify with their race number (see the bag on the right in the photo), then place at the designated Bag Drop area at North Star Reach. Gear-check bags will be transported back to Halfmoon Lake.  You must use the bags we supply to you; no other bags will be permitted. Personal bags and bags packed like the one shown in the left of the photo will not be accepted and will be left at North Star Reach.

Special-Needs Bags: 10K swimmers will receive a clear plastic bag to use as their “special needs” bag. “Special needs” bags will be labeled with the participant’s race number (see the bag on the right in the photo above). You must use the bags we supply to you; no other bags will be permitted. These bags will be transported to North Star Reach, where they will be accessible to you as you emerge from the water for the halfway turn-around. Please note that “special needs” bags will not be transported back to Halfmoon Lake, so only pack items that are disposable.

Body Marking: All participants, regardless of distance, must be body marked and pick up their timing chips at Halfmoon Lake prior to their event. Body marking will also be available at Saturday’s Packet Pick-Up.

Shuttle Buses: Shuttle buses from Halfmoon Lake to North Star Reach will leave every 15 minutes starting at 6:30 AM, with the last bus departing at 7:30 AM. If you are a 5K swimmer, please do not plan on taking the final bus! The buses hold 50 passengers and we will have approximately 250 swimmers to transport. You must use the provided shuttle buses to reach the 5K starting area at North Star Reach. The camp will be closed to all other vehicles and the gates will be locked after the 5K starts.

Course Map: Here is the course map (approximate) with buoys. As with all Epic Races events, we strive to be green and therefore will not have printed course maps on race weekend.



Here is the aerial view of the 10K and 5K courses, courtesy of http://www.sandhillsoaring.org.


Aid Stations

Aid stations for the 10K and 5K will be located at approximately every mile and will have water, Gatorade, Clif Shot Bloks, and Gu energy gel (vanilla, salted caramel, and chocolate). The 1.2-mile and half-mile swims will not have aid stations.


Awards will be presented to the Overall and Masters winners of each race distance and to the top 5 finishers in each age division. We understand that, after all the energy and effort you’ve put into your swim, you’d prefer to head home to wash up and relax rather than wait for a formal awards presentation. Swim to the Moon awards will therefore be presented in a Grab-n-Go style: simply give your name and your finish (eg, Female Masters winner for the 5K, 3rd for men’s 40-44 in the 10K) to our Awards Table staffer to pick up your award! We will have our podium set up for your photo ops, too. Congratulations!


For Our 10K Swimmers

Cut-off Times:

  • 10K swimmers must reach the turn-around point at North Star Reach within 2 hours
  • 10K swimmers must complete the course in 5 hours

Special Needs Bag: You will be given a plastic bag with your race number attached to it. Please put any of your own “special needs” in this bag. “Special needs” can range from Advil to fresh swim goggles to a slice of pizza or whatever you might want to eat at the halfway point. You must use the provided bags; no gym bags or other bags will be allowed! The bags will be at the 5K turn-around on the shores of Patterson Lake/North Star Reach, where you will be required to exit the water for a brief moment. You may or may not want your bag at this point.  All belongings in these bags should be disposable as they will not be returned to the start/finish area.


Location Information

Facilities Usage: Please note that the two red portable toilets down by Halfmoon Lake Beach do not belong to Epic Races. Epic Races is not responsible for their condition. Epic Races is responsible for the portable toilets by the parking lot and strongly recommends that you use these facilities. Portable toilets will also be available for use at Patterson Lake/North Star Reach.


Spectator Information

Spectators, friends, and family members are welcome to stay along the shores of Halfmoon Lake to watch the start of the 10K, 1.2-mile, and half-mile swims and to cheer on all four distances as they come in for the finish. Because the 5K starting location is privately owned, only our participants and Epic Races and North Star Reach staff and volunteers are permitted at the 5K starting location and the surrounding premises.


Making Changes

Event Changes: If you would like to switch from one event to another (for instance, from the 10K to the 5K or from the half mile to the 1.2 mile), you can do so online. Simply log into your Run Sign Up account, then click “My Registered Races” to bring up your race list. Click “Manage Registration” under Swim to the Moon, then use the blue Transfer Event button to make your changes. Please note that you may incur a fee as pricing will be adjusted to the current registration fee. Run Sign Up will also charge a processing fee for this service. Online changes must be made by 11:59 PM on Thursday, August 17. You can also switch events at Packet Pick-Up.

If You Cannot Attend: Unable to make the race? Click here to see Epic Races’ policies regarding race credit.


Remember Our Charity Partner: North Star Reach

North Star Reach, located on 105 acres in Pinckney, Michigan, is a camp specially designed for children with life-threatening, serious, and chronic medical conditions. Because of their health issues, these children cannot attend regular summer camp. As part of the SeriousFun network of camps for children with serious health concerns, North Star Reach will offer these kids the chance to enjoy one of childhood’s most valued traditions: a summer of swimming, climbing, canoeing, arts and crafts, making new friends, and creating lifelong memories. North Star Reach’s facilities will include all of this and more, including a state-of-the-art medical center staffed 24 hours to support and supervise its campers. Best of all, North Star Reach will be cost free for campers who qualify… and for their siblings.

STTMSwimmerNewWe have been fundraising for North Star Reach, which serves as the starting location for the 5K and the turn-around point for the 10K, since the beginning of Swim to the Moon. North Star Reach would not be where it is today without the generous help of its fundraisers. You too can fundraise for North Star Reach. All participants who raise a minimum of $50 will receive a special prize; additional prizes will be awarded for different levels of fundraising. To become a fundraiser, click on the blue Fundraising button at the top of our event page, then click on the Donate Now button in our Crowdrise widget to take you to our Swim to the Moon fundraising page. Click the Join this Fundraising Campaign button on the right, create your fundraising page, then tell all your friends!

Not up to fundraising? You can support one of your fellow swimmers by making a donation on their fundraising page! No donation is too small when it comes to helping kids!


Ditch the Discomfort

If you experience any aches, strains, or pain during your training or race, contact our friends at Probility Physical Therapy for a free injury assessment.

42 Responses to “Swim to the Moon Race-Day Guide”

  1. Doug Turner July 14, 2014 at 11:20 AM #

    Can I switch my entry from the 10k to the 5k?

    • ana July 14, 2014 at 10:49 PM #

      You should be able to edit your registration via IMAthlete. If you have your confirmation code handy (it should be in the registration confirmation email you received shortly after signing up for the race), go to IMAthlete.com and at the very top of the page, you’ll see “Already registered for an event? Click here to edit.” Click there, then plug in your confirmation code to bring up your registration page. Once there, you’ll have the option of changing your distance. If you have any questions, just contact us. Thanks!

  2. Erin August 18, 2015 at 12:25 PM #

    It looks like wetsuits are not allowed due to the water temp over 78. I’m training for an Ironman and need the practice in the wetsuit (the reason for signing up in the first place). Can I wear it and be designated similar to a “safe swimmer” as I’m happy to be in a different wave and certainly not competing for any awards! 🙂

    • ana August 18, 2015 at 2:58 PM #

      Hi Erin! Wetsuits are allowed up to temperatures of 83.9 degrees; wetsuit wearers and Safer Swimmer wearers will be timed, but will not be eligible for any awards. Hope this helps!

  3. Margo August 18, 2015 at 6:52 PM #

    There seems to be a discrepancy on the start time for the 10k, what is the start time?

    • ana August 18, 2015 at 7:29 PM #

      Hi Margo! Our event page and race-day guide both state that the start time is 6:40 AM. Can you please let us know where you saw this discrepancy? Thanks!

  4. Margo August 20, 2015 at 7:24 AM #

    When I clicked on “info for 10k swimmers” at the beginning of the week, I thought it listed a different start time, I checked it and it was the same, sorry, my bad!

  5. Joanne August 22, 2015 at 4:28 PM #

    We were told at packet pickup that this isn’t timed? What’s the deal? Website says timed, and price point certainty implies so. Please advise – we signed up specifically looking for a timed race.

    • ana August 22, 2015 at 7:52 PM #

      All of our races are indeed timed!

  6. Ann August 22, 2015 at 6:57 PM #

    Timer question: at the start of the 5k is the start time recorded? Or just the finish time?

    • ana August 22, 2015 at 7:31 PM #

      There are 3 5K waves, starting at 8:40 AM, then 8:43 AM, then 8:46 AM. All of our wave start times are recorded, as well as each individual’s finish time.

  7. Roger Wotila August 23, 2015 at 6:11 PM #

    Curious why my finish time does not appear in the results? #205

  8. Roger Wotila August 23, 2015 at 6:12 PM #

    Sorry. Correction. #230

    • ana August 25, 2015 at 7:42 AM #

      Hi Roger! Our timing company is aware that there are missing results and is working to rectify this. Hoping to have updated results shortly!

  9. Diane Morrow-Kondos October 30, 2015 at 2:26 PM #

    I’ve never done a 10k and would really like to but my 5k ows time hovers right around the 2 hour mark. How strict are you with the turn around cutoff time? Is the water fairly smooth usually? Also, do you know the dates for 2016 yet? Do the swims usually sell out?
    Thank you so much!
    Diane Morrow-Kondos

    • ana October 31, 2015 at 5:04 PM #

      Hi Diane! Our 2016 time is posted on this page — it’s Sunday, August 21. This past August, our swim was almost at full capacity. We always suggest early registration (opening in December) to guarantee your spot at the lowest price. As for the 5K vs the 10K, we strongly recommend waiting to try the 10K until your 5K swim times consistently average below the 2-hour cut-off. We have several 5K swimmers who are working towards that very same goal. 🙂

  10. Barb July 12, 2016 at 9:34 AM #

    Can I swim with a full scuba mask?

    • ana July 12, 2016 at 1:30 PM #

      Hi Barb! Yes, scuba masks are permitted in Swim to the Moon.

  11. Bailey Wood August 9, 2016 at 9:20 AM #

    Thinking of joining my sister for the 5K. Will Saferswimmers be timed and results posted? It will be a rewarding accomplishment just to finish, do we get a medal too?

    Bailey Wood,
    In Training

    • ana August 9, 2016 at 11:05 AM #

      Hi Bailey! Everyone is timed and receives a medal upon crossing the finish line. Those using SaferSwimmers are just not eligible for awards. You’ll find all this information in our Race-Day Guide, accessible by clicking the blue Race-Day Guide button on the Swim to the Moon page at http://www.swimtothemoon.net.

  12. Amy August 9, 2016 at 10:58 AM #

    For the 5K; if a swimmer is under the age group listed (she’s 13 and the age group is 14-18), will she be included in that age group and be eligible to place? Thanks!

    • ana August 9, 2016 at 11:13 AM #

      Swim to the Moon is a USAT-sanctioned event and, as such, calculates age of a participant by their age on December 31st of the event year. Your participant will be 14 on December 31st, so she will be in the 14-18 age group.

  13. Brittany August 16, 2016 at 9:13 AM #

    it states no “zippered suits” for the event. does this mean no triathlon suits at all?

    • ana August 16, 2016 at 3:35 PM #

      Hi Brittany! No zippered swimsuits are allowed. However, triathlon suits are indeed allowed!

  14. Brittany August 16, 2016 at 9:27 AM #

    are dogs allowed at the park during the race? we’ll be driving in about 2 hours for the race and wanted to be certain we wouldn’t be turned away if the dogs were with us

    • ana August 16, 2016 at 3:21 PM #

      Hi Brittany!

      Dogs are indeed allowed in the park. They must be on a 6-foot leash at all times and are NOT allowed on the beach or in the water; the rangers will issue citations with fines for this, so please be sure to keep your dog on the grassed areas!

  15. Jon Cabel August 16, 2016 at 11:16 AM #

    What is the protocol for inclement weather? Sunday is calling for scattered thunderstorms in morning (80%) becoming more widespread in the afternoon. Looks to be a great day for a swim, except for the chance of thunderstorms.

  16. Gary August 20, 2016 at 4:20 PM #

    Eva, the event notes states that race day registration should pay with cash, but does not state what the race day entry fees are. Since the on-line registration is closed, no registration prices are listed there either. How much cash do we need for race day registration?

    • ana August 20, 2016 at 9:09 PM #

      Gary, all of our races list their entry fees on their event pages. To find the fees for Swim to the Moon, please go to http://www.swimtothemoon.net. You’ll find the fees listed right above our FAQs section.

  17. Jim June 28, 2017 at 10:45 PM #

    Hello! What is the latest time I can/should arrive if I am planning on swimming the 1.2 mile? I live in Port Huron and would like to drive out the morning of. I see body marking is early but registration is open until 9:30. I am assuming I can get body marked later for the shorter distance race. Is this correct? Thanks!

    • ana June 29, 2017 at 12:45 PM #

      Hi Jim! Packet Pick-Up and Registration close at 9:30 AM, so the latest you’ll want to arrive is 9 AM. I strongly recommend arriving earlier than 9 AM, however. This will give you time to park and pick up your race packet (especially if others arriving at 9 AM), then stretch and be ready to go!

  18. Tim Harmount August 13, 2017 at 3:02 PM #

    Noticed age is incorrect. Not sure it matters but wanted to let you know

    • Eva August 13, 2017 at 9:10 PM #

      Yes, it does matter! If you have your runsignup.com login information, you can go in and correct it yourself. If you don’t have that information, email me at eva@epicraces.com and I will help.

  19. Jon Olbum August 16, 2017 at 5:47 PM #

    other than the boundary buoys in half moon lake, do I need to keep the sighting buoys to one side or the other, or are they just guides?

    • Eva August 17, 2017 at 7:56 AM #

      The buoys are just for sighting, either side is fine!

  20. Laurie L Stober August 17, 2017 at 5:58 PM #

    This is my third time doing the race. It is one of my favorite races as it is well organized and fun, also the snacks or rather nice! I will be using swim fins as I have a disability and the fins are very helpful. I do not expect that my time will be counted for awards but have you ever considered an assist category?

    • Eva August 18, 2017 at 8:25 AM #

      Hi Laurie,
      So happy to have you back for the 3rd time! Yes, as you said, you are welcome to use fins, but will not be eligible for awards. Many of our races do have para categories, but we have not yet added this to Swim to the Moon. Thank you for suggesting it and we will look into it for next year!

  21. David August 18, 2017 at 7:10 AM #

    Several questions…
    1. Wanted to double-check we can wear watches for the event (e.g., Garmin)
    2. Wanted to know if we should be suited up for the swim clinic (never been to one); i.e., wanted to check if we will be swimming.
    3. Will there be water at North Star Reach upon exiting for the first half of the 10K or should we put water in our special needs bag if we want/need it?
    4. I have left a bag on the beach of previous swim races I have done (shoes, sandals, towel, etc.) While I know no one is liable if it gets taken, will I be able to do this at the start? Or is there a place close to the start to keep/store this kind of stuff if not allowed?

    • Eva August 18, 2017 at 8:17 AM #

      Several questions…
      1. Wanted to double-check we can wear watches for the event (e.g., Garmin)
      YES, YOU CAN!
      2. Wanted to know if we should be suited up for the swim clinic (never been to one); i.e., wanted to check if we will be swimming.
      3. Will there be water at North Star Reach upon exiting for the first half of the 10K or should we put water in our special needs bag if we want/need it?
      4. I have left a bag on the beach of previous swim races I have done (shoes, sandals, towel, etc.) While I know no one is liable if it gets taken, will I be able to do this at the start? Or is there a place close to the start to keep/store this kind of stuff if not allowed?

  22. Susan Haapaniemi August 28, 2017 at 9:17 PM #

    My registration bag did not include a 3.1 sticker. I left a message and someone sent me two stickers which were the same as the last two years which I already have! Since I completed this year’s event, I would really like this year’s sticker. Please, could I get one?
    Thanks, Sue

    • Eva Solomon August 29, 2017 at 4:44 PM #

      Sure! We actually don’t have specific stickers for specific years. We used to sell them and now we give them out with registration so we have multiple designs. Please let me know which sticker you are looking for and I’ll see what I can find for you!

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