An electrifying kickoff for the Health Plus Crim Festival of Races, the Michigan Professional Mile Race was held on Friday evening, presented by The Running Institute.
The Professional Men’s Mile and Women’s Mile came with a $10,000 purse. Ben Blankenship won the men’s division with a time of 4:05:09 while Heather Kampf took the women’s title, finishing at 4:46.7. Olympian Geena Gall of Grand Blanc turned in an impressive fourth-place finish.
According to Andy Younger, Race Director, the Michigan Mile reached its maximum number of competitors this year. Also held Friday evening was the Michigan High School Challenge and the Open Mile Challenge.
An Inspiring Invitational
Much attention is given to the winners at the Health Plus Crim Festival of Races. But what about the guy who finishes last?
“Consider those at the end of the pack, many of whom participate with injuries or special challenges,” says Ellen Peter, Marketing and Communication Specialist at McLaren-Flint. “Marvel at their accomplishments, as well.”
And how can one not marvel at the achievements of the competitors in the Lois Craig Invitational – a Special Olympics Race? The event was presented by Grand Blanc Motorcars and is an inspiring experience for participants and spectators alike. It was held on the evening of August 23 and started at the University of Michigan-Flint pavilion on S. Saginaw Street. Supporters, friends and family members lined the sidewalks, waving signs and cheering for their Michigan Special Olympics athletes. “The pride in their eyes when they cross the finish line is so cool!” exclaimed one of the spectators.
The event began with three athletes racing in wheel-chairs. Each of the approximately 100 Special Olympians’ competed in a heat aligned with their individual abilities. The determination and grit shown by those with special challenges and the pride on the faces of their loved ones makes The Lois Craig Invitational one of the truly stirring events of the Health Plus Crim Festival of Races.
PHOTOS BY TRACI TURNER
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