The Recreation Authority of Roseville and Eastpointe will be hosting its 40th annual Big Bird Fun Run on Sunday, Nov. 11, at the RARE recreation center.

The Recreation Authority of Roseville and Eastpointe will be hosting its 40th annual Big Bird Fun Run on Sunday, Nov. 11, at the RARE recreation center.

Photo provided by Tony Lipinski

RARE to host 40th annual Big Bird Run

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published October 2, 2018


ROSEVILLE — The Recreational Authority of Roseville and Eastpointe is inviting members of the community to lace up their  running shoes and join it for its 40th annual Big Bird Run Nov. 11.

Named for its tradition of giving out free turkeys to some of the runners, the Big Bird Run is a 10K, 4K and 1-mile fun run. All proceeds from the event will be given back to the community service organizations that volunteer at the run; the organizations then use the funding to assist local families and students in need.

“This is the 40th annual run. I wasn’t here when it started, but a guy named Larry Snelling, who was the assistant director of the Roseville Department of Recreation at the time, and a lawyer named Russ LaBarge originally put it together,” explained Tony Lipinski, the executive director of the Recreational Authority of Roseville and Eastpointe. “They wanted to start a run in Roseville because it was getting popular at the time, and they gave away several large turkeys, which is how it got its name.”

The course will include Gratiot Avenue, the Interstate 696 pedestrian bridge and several residential streets. The 10K course is certified by USA Track & Field. 

Check-in will begin at 8:15 a.m., and the run will begin at 10 a.m. at the RARE recreation center, 18185 Sycamore St. in Roseville. The cost per runner is $25 if registered by Nov. 7, or $30 on race day. There is a special $20 rate for C & G readers if they register by mail or in person and mention the C & G article until Oct. 10.

Registration costs include age division awards, raffle prizes and refreshments. Runners can register online at www.eastsideracing They also can call RARE at (586) 445-5480 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays.

Hanson’s Running Shop will provide gloves for all runners, as well as raffle prizes. Petitpren Distributors Inc. will provide prizes for the age division winners in the 10K and 4K races. All Big Bird Run participants have a chance to win one of 20 frozen turkeys, compliments of Christian Financial Credit Union. Bagels, bottled water and fruit for runners also will be offered courtesy of Joe Randazzo’s Fruit & Vegetable Market.

Lipinski said the funds from the run will go back into the Roseville and Eastpointe communities. 

“It was mainly to provide a family fitness outing, and now it is used as a fundraiser, so the proceeds go to several community service organizations, such as the Optimist Club, the Roseville High School Band Boosters, ASPIRE, the Kiwanis Club and the Goodfellows,” he said. “Those groups in turn help out families in the community.”

Maggie Rollinger, the Roseville Optimist Club treasurer, said it is a wonderful relationship that is a win-win-win for groups such as hers, RARE, and the people of the communities that they serve.

“RARE donates the profits back to the groups which help them, such as ours, so it’s a nice fundraiser for very little work. We typically make about $1,000,” said Rollinger. “So many people are so grateful to us each year just for standing on a corner. It’s so nice, and we deal with nice people, and I think it’s good to show them we appreciate them, and it’s nice that they appreciate us back.”

Groups like the Roseville Optimist Club will assist with hosting the run, as well as provide some of the materials and prizes needed to host it.

“We’ve been working with them since we formed in 1992,” said Rollinger. “What we do is twofold: Our people will stand on the corners to make sure the traffic doesn’t go through and keep the runners safe, and we also pass out fruit and bagels at the end of the race.”

Lipinski said it’s a great way to kick off the holiday season and help people out in the meantime.

“It’s a popular event, and the proceeds go back into the community right before the holidays. This way, it’s a good thing for the whole community,” Lipinski said. “It’s a great, fun family event, and they have a chance to win one of 20 frozen turkeys and lots of other prizes just for registering.”