Last call to enter HealthPlus Brooksie Way races

Runners and walkers aiming to take part in the seventh annual HealthPlus Brooksie Way races had better kick it in gear because time is running short.

The HealthPlus Brooksie Way Half Marathon begins this Sunday morning at 8 a.m. at the Meadow Brook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University. Online registration ends today at noon. Final registration is available in person on Friday from 3 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the HealthPlus Brooksie Way Fitness Expo in the OU Student Rec Center. Running legend Bill Rodgers is appearing at the Expo to sign copies of his books and posters.

"I'm hoping for a record number of racers this year," Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. "This is one of the premier road races in the Midwest and a wonderful way to enjoy the fall weather while engaging in a healthy activity.

The races include a half marathon, 10k and 5k. A kid's race sponsored by Fifth Third bank is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. on the OU campus, Lot P-35. Complete details for all races including registration are available at www.TheBrooksieWay.com. Kroger, the official half marathon sponsor, offers race applications in all Michigan stores. ASA Builders Supply is the 10k race sponsor. The 5k race is sponsored by First Merit Bank.

On Wednesday, a pre-race Sponsor's Reception was held at The Royal Park Hotel during which two winners of the Brooksie Way Minigrant program will be announced. The minigrants, which are supported by HealthPlus and others sponsors, has awarded more than $130,000 for more than 100 programs that support healthy and active lifestyles for county residents.

- The Orion Township Library received a minigrant to begin a geocaching program. The money will be used to purchase GPS units, geocaching books and backpacks.

- Pine Tree Elementary School in Orion Township will use its minigrant to purchase kids stationary bikes for a school health and wellness initiative.

The HealthPlus Brooksie Way, now in its seventh year, is named in memory of Brooks Stuart Patterson, a young father and the son of the county executive, who died in 2007. It has become one of the most popular regional fall half marathons. The 2013 race attracted 6,100 runners and walkers, including participants from 17 states and five countries. The course begins and ends at the Meadow Brook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University and includes parts of the Clinton River and Paint Creek trails, Rochester Hills and downtown Rochester.

A post-race celebration will begin immediately after the races and continue until 1 p.m. on the Meadow Brook Music Festival grounds.

Runners and walkers who have participated in past HealthPlus Brooksie Way races will note a course modification, which now takes them on Dutton Road. The change was made necessary because Tienken Road is not available due to ongoing construction. New for 2014, timing mats will be placed at the bottom and top of Dutton Road between miles nine and 10 on the half mile course. The male and female runners with the fastest times will get a special award for being the "king" and "queen" of Dutton Road.

All half marathon participants receive a long sleeve Brooks technical shirt. All participants receive finisher medals created especially for the race.

Volunteers are still being sought to help on the Friday and Saturday preceding the race and on race day. Those interested can see what volunteer opportunities are available by checking www.TheBrooksieWay.com.

Published: Thu, Sep 25, 2014