Heart of the Hills run returns to Bloomfield Hills

By: Brendan Losinski | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published July 26, 2017

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BLOOMFIELD HILLS — The Heart of the Hills run will be returning to Bloomfield Hills Saturday, July 29, and runners from all over the area are lacing up their running shoes.

The run will encompass a 5K and a 10K, and it benefits youth charity programs run through the Bloomfield Hills Optimist Club and the Bloomfield Hills School District’s charity program. The run has been lauded by past participants for its beautiful and challenging route.

“It’s called ‘the Heart of the Hills’ for a reason. It’s in the heart of Bloomfield Hills,” said Fernando Garcia, the project chair of the run for the Bloomfield Hills Optimist Club. “It runs from the high school to Kirk in the Hills church and down the streets through some beautiful parts of the community, going up and down the hills for a challenging and beautiful run.”

The run starts and ends at Bloomfield Hills High School. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m., the 10K portion will kick off at 8 a.m., and the 5K run/walk will start 15 minutes later. Race awards and refreshments will take place between 9:15 a.m. and 11 a.m. Those who complete the run will receive a short-sleeved shirt, a tote bag and a medal.

“Bloomfield Hills High School — the former Andover High School — has always been a great site to start and end the run,” said Garcia. “For the amature runner who is seeking competition in a beautiful setting and wants to benefit their community, this is the perfect venue.”

The race returned three years ago after being put on hold for a few years.

“We had a hiatus for a few years that ended about three years ago because of a variety of reasons, including not having enough volunteers to chair and run the project,” said Garcia. “Now we have a lot of community leaders, like Dave Hendrickson, who is city manager for Bloomfield Hills and will be taking over as chair next year, and Leo Savoie, the Bloomfield Township supervisor.” He said they have helped bring in sponsors and keep costs down.

The run is operated by two 501(c)(3) organizations through a race organizing subcommittee that consists of personnel from Bloomfield Hills Schools Athletics, the city’s Recreation and Community Services Department and the Bloomfield Hills Optimist Club Foundation.

One of the most popular programs that benefits from the run is the Children’s Holiday Wish Program, which is organized by the Optimist Club and provides underprivileged and disadvantaged children with a holiday gift that they might not otherwise receive.

“The Children’s Holiday Wish Program has been running since 1989 and benefited over 3,300 children who received an estimated $120,000 in gifts,” said Garcia. “They are identified by the Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency, and we work with them to find kids in need.”

Greg Everall has taken part in the race several times and now oversees registration and timing.

“The course is a great course, especially as a warm-up if you’re doing the Free Press marathon in the fall or anything else big,” said Everall. “Also, it’s going toward a good cause. The people putting it together have been some great people, and that name and logo has become a staple in the community. Once you run it, you’re hooked.”

Everall said the reason for the route being so good for runners is a mix of beauty and difficulty.

“It’s a beautiful course,” he said. “The area is very hilly — you have the beautiful homes to pass by, and I love seeing different neighborhoods and the the lake and the challenge of the hills. I like finishing on the track at the high school. You can’t go wrong with this course.”

More information can be found at www.heartofthehillsrun.com.

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