2008-07-10 / Sports

Crim Festival of Races returns

By Michael Selecky
INDEX Sports Writer

FLINT — Ever since the event was created in 1977 by former House Speaker Bobby Crim, the Crim Road Race has been focused on giving back to the less fortunate in Genesee County.

More than three decades later, the annual event has sprouted legs and taken an entirely new form as the Crim Fitness Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to assuming a leadership role in serving the national agenda for improving the health status in our nation’s communities.

In an effort to better serve this agenda, the foundation organizes several fitness programs that take place throughout the year at various times and places, including the Crim Festival of Races, which is highlighted by a 10-mile run on August 23 starting at 8 a.m.. As the largest 10-mile race in Michigan and third- largest nationally, over 15,000 individuals come out annually to compete with athletes of every skill level.

Initially, the Crim was designed to bring a world-class road race to the city of Flint while raising charitable dollars for mentally handicapped athletes and fostering community pride and cooperation among area residents.

Throughout the years, the event has progressed substantially, including 1985 when local citizens agreed that the Crim deserved a solid commitment from the community and developed a Board of Directors, in addition to incorporating as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. This allowed the main goal of helping one charity, Michigan Special Olympics, to expand into assisting five others as well. These include Big Brother/Big Sisters of Greater Flint, Fair Winds Girl Scouts, Shelter of Flint, Genesee County Literacy Coalition and the Crim Youth Development Program.

Eventually, other distances joined the original 10-Mile Race. In 1987, the 8K Race was added and in 1988, the 5K Family Walk and Teddy Bear Trot became a part of the Crim tradition. The Crim 8K Walk, the concert the night before the race, carnival rides and post-event entertainment were added to the Festival of Races lineup as well.

Since 1992 the festival has also added a one mile run, 8K race/walk, 5K run, Competitive Walk, Neighborhood Running Clubs, Crim Kids Classic, the Crim Training Program, Beyond 2000 community fitness Program and The Feelin’ Good Mileage Club school fitness program.

As an affair that regularly sees 50,000 fans attend the three-day celebration, the Aug. 23 competition has most of its events either start or finish in the vicinity of the Crim Fitness Foundation headquarters, located at 452 S. Saginaw St. in Flint. Donations and volunteers are always welcome and registration is open now. Details: Fax 810-235-3396 or call 810-235-5311.

Available parking areas include the University of Michigan-Flint White Bldg. lot at the corner of Robert T. Longway and Saginaw Street and the north end of the Flint Farmer’s Market, both of which are easily accessible from I-475.

Another product of the Crim Fitness Foundation is the Safe and Active Flint Coalition, which was formed to create a danger-free and accessible pedestrian-oriented and bicycle-friendly environment for all residents. It consists of local stakeholder groups who guide the project and advocate for environmental improvements and policy changes that’ll support active transportation like walking or bicycling in a safe environment.

Other foundation events include the Brooksie Half Way Marathon and 5K Run and Walk on October 5 at 8 a.m. on the Oakland University campus in Rochester. The races are named after Brooks Stuart Patterson, the 28-year-old son of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. Brooksie, as he was known to family and friends, died in a 2007 snowmobile accident.

The Crim is also affiliated with Smart Commute, which encourages people to use alternative modes of transportation. The initiative is being led by Safe and Active Flint.
Details: crim@flint.org.

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