ROYAL OAK — For the second year, Woodward Avenue will be converted from metro Detroit’s main auto thoroughfare to a track for runners — well, for a half hour at least.
While this would be a difficult task on any day of the year, it is especially difficult on the morning when 400,000 cars are expected to descend upon state Route 1 for the Woodward Dream Cruise Aug. 17.
Last August, 699 runners descended upon Woodward for the first Cruise in Shoes 5k Run/Walk, said run spokesman Louie Katsaros. As of last week, 700 people had already registered for the race, Katsaros said.
“It’s going to be picking up between now and Aug. 15,” he said last week, referring to the date online registration ends. “We are going to far exceed last year’s numbers in 2013.”
When all is said and done, organizers are expecting up to 1,400 runners and walkers along Woodward: the run/walk begins at 7:30 a.m. on Yorba Linda Boulevard.
“The way we make it work is we just give them the southbound lane,” Police Chief Corey O’Donohue said recently. “It’s the beginning of the run. So once the runners clear that initial turnaround, we’ll be able to open it up again.”
He said organizers of the run had been asking for police help to do the run for three years, but it wasn’t until last year that the Police Department was able to accommodate their request. Initially, runners wanted the entire run to be along Woodward, but O’Donohue said that was not possible.
“That’s just not practical for really any day,” he said.
Regardless, organizers are selling the run to participants as a chance to run along Woodward Avenue, a road synonymous with automobiles and not pedestrians.
“A lot of people challenged us on doing that,” said Greg Rassel, the Woodward Dream Cruise president. “We did it mainly to let people get a different view of Woodward.”
He said the run doesn’t really hold up traffic because it doesn’t pick up until after 8 a.m.
“So we’ll be off Woodward just after 8 a.m.,” he said.
Katsaros said that revenue from the run is split among the nine communities along Woodward Avenue in Oakland County.
Last year, each municipality got $5,000, which Katsaros said they could use for whatever purpose they want.
Anyone interested in participating in Cruise In Shoes can register online by going to www.Cruise inShoes.com/registration until August 15. Participants can also sign up for the event the day of the run at Royal Oak Shrine High School, according to a press release.
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