More than 1,500 people are expected to participate in the seventh annual Run the Plank 5K event in Macomb Township on June 30. Pictured is a previous edition of the event.

More than 1,500 people are expected to participate in the seventh annual Run the Plank 5K event in Macomb Township on June 30. Pictured is a previous edition of the event.

Photo provided by Mike Fontana


Run the Plank 5K organizers expect 1,500 people for June 30 event

By: Joshua Gordon | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published June 27, 2018

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Start stretching, because the seventh annual Run the Plank 5K event returns to Macomb Township on June 30.

The fundraising run is a collaboration between three local churches — Immanuel Lutheran, St. Isidore and St. Peter Lutheran churches. The first year edition saw 900 runners raise $20,000, while last year’s event had about 1,400 runners raise $36,500 for five local charities.

This year, organizer Mike Fontana said they are anticipating 1,500 participants. The five charities that will benefit from the event this year are CARE of Southeast Michigan, the Leadership Macomb Junior Program, Macomb Resolution, Macomb Special Olympics and Turning Point.

Fontana said combining a run with charity makes for a winning combination. Everyone is invited to participate, whether they run, walk, jog or are pushed in a stroller.

“As churches, we are blessed with opportunities to bring good things to the community, and health and wellness is something we all need to focus on individually,” he said. “We made sure to focus on activities for all ages so we can get the entire family together and have some fun in the community.”

The race will start at 8:15 a.m. at Immanuel, 47120 Romeo Plank Road, and participants will be bused to the starting line from designated parking at St. Peter Lutheran Church, 17051 24 Mile Road, St. John Medical Center, 17700 23 Mile Road, and Lutheran North High School, 16825 24 Mile Road.

The course is the same as last year, as participants will head north on Romeo Plank past St. Isidore and end at St. Peter. An awards ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m., followed by the free Family Fun Fitness Fair. Both take place at St. Peter.

Fontana said participants and their friends and family are invited to the Family Fun Fitness Fair, which he anticipates will have upwards of 2,000 people in attendance. The fair will have inflatables, clowns, popcorn, fruit and pizza, all for free.

“A few years ago, a group of race directors met with (Macomb County Executive) Mark Hackel and he said we should make our events more than just running from point A to point B and then people go home,” Fontana said. “We need to incorporate some fun and activities, so we took it to another level and have free pizza and free inflatables and, by noon, everyone can go back to their day.”

Registration costs $35 online, or $40 in person on June 29 at packet pick-up at Immanuel. There is no day-of registration, Fontana said, as it would be difficult with the size of the event.

Registration includes a T-shirt, which is yellow and blue this year, a bag, a free pasta dinner at packet pick-up, and a promotional wristband. The wristband gets the participant discounts at local businesses for two week after the event, beginning  June 30.

Fontana said at press time they were still looking for sponsors, which helps raise money for the charities. The charities are also encouraged to participate in the event, either by having runners or volunteers to help run the event.

The amount that will be donated isn’t finalized yet, Fontana said, because they are still waiting for runner registration and sponsorship deals to close. Last year’s race allowed for $7,300 to be donated to each of the five charities and brought the overall six-year total to more than $228,000 donated.

Fontana said they accept applications from all local charities, but only pick a few as they feel a bigger donation would be more impactful to a few.

Beth Beebe, an event committee member from St. Isidore, said supporting so many local organizations is part of the reason the event has such good turnout each year.

“You have some smaller charities that don’t have the ability to pull together an event like this and they don’t have the volunteer base that the three churches do,” Beebe said. “There are people who have difficult lives and need support, and these charities support them and we support those charities.”

For more information on the Run the Plank event, or to register, visit www.runtheplank.com.

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