'Escape to Belle Isle'

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Husband and wife attorneys organize July 18 event to aid Ronald McDonald House

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

The 7th annual Escape to Belle Isle-Spirit of Detroit Challenge, a grassroots 5-km and 10-km run/walk that draws around 800 participants, will be held at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 18, on Belle Isle and costs $35. A 400-yard Kids’ Fun Run, costing $25, gets under way at 10 a.m. Walkers, strollers and dogs also are welcome.

Proceeds benefit Ronald McDonald House of Detroit that offers a home away from home for families whose children are hospitalized for serious illnesses.

The annual summer Belle Isle event, featuring music, face painting, a sketch artist and refreshments, attracts families as well as competitive runners who use it as a training event. Last year, Walled Lake resident Mike Anderson won the 10-km race and went on to win the men’s division of the Detroit Free Press-Talmer Bank Marathon.

The July 18 race is sponsored by Kitch Attorneys & Counselors, Absopure, Running Fit, and The Thurswell Law Firm PLLC.

The annual fund-raiser was originally launched by Jenna and Milt Greenman of West Bloomfield, a local husband and wife team, who are both attorneys and who enjoy running and racing.

“We saw a void in summer runs in the city of Detroit and decided to change that, while raising money for a good cause,” says Jenna, who serves on the board of the Ronald McDonald House of Detroit, and who, with her husband, is helping raise funds for the Hearts, Hands and Home campaign to benefit expanded services at the residence, located at 4707 St. Antoine.

An alumnus of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, Milt specializes in medical malpractice and complex litigation. Jenna, an alumnus from Cooley Law School, specializes in medical malpractice defense litigation. Both are active trial attorneys who practice the same specialty, but on opposite sides, and often are referred to as the James Carville and Mary Matalin of the Detroit legal community.

Through their work on medical malpractice cases, the Greenmans became aware of how important it was for families to have a place for parents to stay close to their hospitalized children.

“With our respective involvement and interaction with Children’s Hospital of Michigan in particular, we felt it was so important to give back to a charity that helps these children and their families day after day to provide some comfort during difficult times — having a sick child is overwhelming, and anything that helps make that easier is worth our time and efforts,” Jenna says.

A veteran of 13 marathons – including Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Disney World – Jenna emcees the Race on Belle Isle, calling out runners’ names as they pass the finish line.    

Milt has also run in numerous triathlons and road races with Jenna, including the Mackinaw Island 8-Mile Road Race and the Muddy Buddy series.

“I love the feeling that running gives you, like no other sport – it’s truly a gift to be able to run and enjoy the outdoors, and feel the sense of accomplishment after each and every run,” Jenna says. “And to emcee our own race that we started – I just love being able to see participants from literally all over the state and country come to this race and enjoy a beautiful, flat course in the heart of Detroit in the summer. To see the faces and happiness of all the walkers and runners as they near the finish line makes all the time and effort we put into the race worth it, every year.”

Adult registrants will receive a dry-fit tech shirt and custom medal; kids receive a T-shirt, medal, and trophy. The top male and female in the 5-km and 10-km will receive a gift card prize ($75 and $100, respectively). All participants receive free post race food and beverages sponsored by Absopure, Powerade, McDonald’s, and Panera Bread.

Register online at www.escapetobelleisle.com by 11 p.m. on Thursday, July 16, to guarantee a tech shirt. Participants can also register on race day. Shirt and number pick-up will be from 6:30-8 a.m. on race day at the Belle Isle Casino.

An $11 recreation passport (if not already registered on your license) is required for entry to the state park.

Donations to Ronald McDonald house of Southeast Michigan also may be mailed to One Woodward Ave, Suite 24, Detroit, 48226, Attn: Jenna Greenman.  Donations are tax deductible and will be recognized with a letter from the Ronald McDonald House Organization. For more information, visit rmhc-detroit.org.

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