Organizers gearing up for Run the Plank

By: Thomas Franz | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published June 7, 2016

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The fifth annual Run the Plank 5K event is set to return to Macomb Township on Saturday, June 25.

The number of participants in the event has grown each year since its 2012 inception, although rain dampened turnout a bit last year.

The course remains the same from previous editions, as runners will begin in front of Immanuel Lutheran Church on Romeo Plank Road just north of 21 Mile Road, and finish at St. Peter Luteran Church at Romeo Plank and 24 Mile Road.

“It’s been great. We feel very honored and blessed to have done such a wonderful event for the community, and to be able to share the profits with various nonprofits within the community which are in need of financial support,” event organizer Mike Fontana said.

Proceeds from this year’s event will go to six local charities: Abigayle Ministries, the Cassie Hines Shoes Cancer Foundation, MCREST, the Macomb Food Program, the Myasthenia Gravis Association and Vets Returning Home.

The event began with 918 runners in 2012, raising $20,000 for charity, and those figures rose to a high of 1,667 registered runners a year ago and a peak of $51,000 in donations in 2014.

“Our goal is 1,800 race participants this year. We’re sort of on target at this point. Unfortunately, most race participants wait until last minute, so we’re probably not going to see an influx until the next couple of weeks,” Fontana said last week.

Runners may register for the event at www.runtheplank.com for $30 through June 10. Online registration June 11-23 costs $35, and in-person registration June 24 costs $40. Runners may not register the day of the race and there are no refunds, according to the race website.

The registration fee includes an event T-shirt, a cinch bag, a wristband with discounts to dining and shopping, a medal with a lanyard, a complimentary pasta meal during packet pickup June 24, and entrance to the family fun fair following the run June 25.

Shirts are not guaranteed for late registrants.

“As far as I’m concerned, we provide more value than most other races, and we’re OK with that. We’re very happy that we can provide added value to all of our race participants,” Fontana said. “We’ve focused on making sure we provide added value to generate enthusiasm and excitement, to create repeat clients who come back year after year.”

Runners may pick up their packets between noon and 8 p.m. June 24 at Immanuel Lutheran Church. Runners and their guests may participate in the free pasta lunch or dinner.

On race day, bus transportation will begin from four locations at 6:15 a.m. and continue until 7:45 a.m. Participants may park at St. Peter Lutheran Church, St. John Medical Center, St. Isidore Catholic Church or Lutheran High School North.

The race start time is at 8:15 a.m., followed by an awards ceremony, and the start to the family fun fair is at 9:30 a.m. at St. Peter Church.

A top male and female finisher will be recognized overall, and in the master (40-59 years old) and grand master (60 and up) age categories.

A new addition to the family fun fair is a kids race for children 9 years old and younger. The race will start following the conclusion of the 5K, and will be a 1-mile course that begins at the back of St. Peter Church and concludes at the same finish line as the regular race.

Individuals must register to participate in the kids fun run, but there is no cost, and participants receive a medal, cinch bag and 2016 Run the Plank shirt.

The family fun fair lasts until noon and will feature complimentary food and treats, as well as inflatable games, a clown and face painting.

For more information on the event, visit www.runtheplank.com.