If organizers of Macomb Township’s first “Run the Plank” 5K get their wish, more than 1,500 pairs of feet will trek northward on Romeo Plank Road June 30.
Hosted by Immanuel Lutheran Church, St. Isidore Catholic Church and St. Peter Lutheran Church, this community-wide run/walk is the first event of its kind in Macomb and the first on which the three parishes have collaborated.
“It’s a great opportunity for a community building event,” said Mike Fontana, race chair and St. Isidore parishioner. “This is three local parishes wanting to do good for the community. It’s the first time these churches have ever partnered and so far the partnership has been very good.”
Scheduled for June 30, “Run the Plank” is, as its name suggests, a race along the east side of Romeo Plank Road. Starting at Immanuel Lutheran on 21 Mile, participants will have the option to run or walk the roughly three miles north to St. Peter Lutheran on 24 Mile.
“The idea started at Immanuel, and as we shared it with St. Peter and St. Isidore, all three of us said, ‘Let’s do something really great together,’” said Greg Griffith, Immanuel Lutheran associate pastor. “In our brainstorming, we saw it was just one of those things that was clearly inspired.”
Benefiting Soles4Souls and Macomb County's homeless students
Although the event will be a timed 5K, with awards for the top three finishers in each age category, Griffith said the event is firstly a charitable fund-raiser, benefiting Soles4Souls and Macomb County’s homeless students.
“I had heard about Soles4Souls, and had done a little research,” Griffith said. “As we talked about the run/walk and who it would benefit, this was a natural fit. But as we were talking, we also realized we didn’t want to support just national causes, but Macomb County and Macomb Township as well.”
In the weeks leading up to the race and on race day itself, Soles4Souls collection bins will be available at all three churches as well as the finish line for community members and race participants to donate shoes of all sizes, brands and conditions. This footwear will then be recycled by the organization and distributed to adults and children in need around the world.
Locally, proceeds from the event’s $25 registration fee will benefit the Macomb Intermediate School District’s homeless education project, which liaison Kathy Kropf said uses such donations to purchase gift cards that outfit the county’s more than 1,000 homeless students.
“One thousand students times $50–that’s a lot of money–and that ($50 gift card) is only for one student, not the siblings or parents,” Kropf said. “I was thrilled that they chose us. Bless them because we need the assistance.”
A Macomb Township resident, Kropf is also planning to support the event as a walker.
“I’m so excited to participate in this and get a lot of the school community involved as well. It’s a great opportunity to showcase Macomb Township in a very positive light.”
Even those not planning to participate in the 5K are invited to join the post-race festivities at St. Peter, where a family fun fair featuring inflatables, entertainment and food will be open to all.
"Hopefully this is the first of many races and each one will be bigger and better than the previous," Fontana said. "I want to put Macomb Township on the map."
Registration: There is a $25 registration fee for both runners and walkers. Participants must register online in advance–the last day for registration is June 29. There is no race day registration.
Participants will be able to confirm their registration and pick up their T-shirts and cinch bags at Immanuel Lutheran on Friday, June 29, from noon-8 p.m.
Start time: 8:15 a.m., June 30 at Immanuel Lutheran
Finish time: 9:30 a.m., with the fair running until noon
Age Categories: 14 and under, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60 and older
Medals will be awarded to the top three finishers in each category. One overall winner will also be recognized.