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About Running Lake Michigan


Starting March 14, 2021 Lee is running around the perimeter of Lake Michigan, a distance of a little over 1,100 miles, in 36 days.

This means he will average around 31 miles (50 kilometers) a day, with no days off.


Departing on the lakefront path in Chicago, he follows the lake north into Wisconsin and into Door County before coming back out and around into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.


Then he crosses the Mackinac Bridge and heads south thru Michigan until reaching Indiana, and finally coming back up north to the original starting point in Chicago.

Despite having 10 ultramarathons under his belt and completing 505 miles in 31 consecutive days for the 'Calendar Club' challenge, this is by far his most ambitious project yet. 

He is using an RV as a home to sleep, cook, shower, and more throughout the run. Please contact Lee if you happen to know of somewhere he can park his RV overnight along the route.

Riley, Patti, and his dad Bruce are also joining the journey at separate times to drive the RV and be the sole support crew. They will help with aspects like: photography, creative social media content, cooking, and most importantly helping ensure we make it back home to Chicago in one piece.

Running Lake Michigan is very much a team effort. Support from family, friends, and others have immensely helped Lee get to the starting line and will continue to be crucial for a successful journey.

Before, during, and after the run, Lee is raising money for the Alzheimer's Association in honor of his Grandma who passed away in September 2020 after living with Alzheimer's dementia for 13 years.

Interested in learning more, being a partner / sponsor, running with Lee, or have an overnight parking idea? Click on a button below!


  • Running the perimeter of Lake Michigan, heading clockwise from Chicago

  • Dates: March 14 - April 18 (2021)

  • 1,100+ miles

  • 36 consecutive days

  • Sleeping, cooking, and living out of an RV

  • One other person to be the driver and sole support crew

  • Completely plant-based vegan diet

  • Partnering with local & national businesses to help make the run possible

  • Sharing the journey on InstagramFacebook, and YouTube

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Lee Thornquist

Runner & Fundriaser

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Lee is an avid traveler, adventurer, and the one running around Lake Michigan in 36 days while fundraising for the Alzheimer's Association. Completing his first half-marathon in 2018, he quickly fell in love with running and challenged himself with longer and different styles of runs. He has completed 10 ultramarathons, including a 50-miler in Monument Valley and 505 miles in 31 days for the 'Calendar Club' challenge.

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Ed Dailey

Running & Training Coach

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Ed began his career as a bike fitter in 2011 and attended Retul University in Boulder, CO in 2012 for his Retul certification. He is a USAT Level 1 certified triathlon coach since 2012 and has raced Ironman 17 times. He is also a 2014 Leadville Leadman finisher and 5 time Leadville Silver King. Ed is a Senior Coach at EDGE Athlete Lounge in Chicago and is currently studying at UIC to be a registered dietitian. 

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Riley Ewing

Driver & Support

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March 14 - 25

Riley is an actor, filmmaker, and adventurist based in New York City. Along with driving, he is helping with filming and other content to capture the story and journey. His latest film, Unplugged, has been selected to air at multiple international film festivals. Just a few weeks after he’s done helping out with this trip, he’s taking a camper van for a month-long cross country adventure. He’s also bringing along his dog, Arnold Schwartzenweiner, for both journeys so expect to see a lot of great content including him.

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Patti Littell

Driver & Support

March 25 - April 4

"I'm always chasing adventure, and I am very excited to help out with this one. With a passion for the environment and the natural world, I majored in Environmental Studies and Sustainability at Northern Michigan University. Northern Michigan is such a special place to me, so I am thrilled to have that portion of the journey. As great as it will be to return to Michigan, it will be so rewarding to help with such an important cause.

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Bruce Thornquist

Driver & Support

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April 4 - 18
Bruce, AKA my Dad, is a retired high school math teacher and is no stranger to running and adventure. Early in his career, he was the school’s cross country coach and today is still in contact with many of his runners. He’s done mountain biking in Moab, fishing in remote Canadian lakes, and is always looking for the best hikes in Arizona and beyond. We’ve had some great adventures in the past so having him on board is a special way to wrap everything up.

Image by Alan Labisch













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