Local runs raise spirits, money for a cause

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While many spent St. Patrick’s Day weekend celebrating with friends or taking advantage of drink specials, other Lansing Township residents laced up their running shoes and braved the morning chill for two charity runs.

“It feels good to get out and do something active, and it’s even better when it’s for a cause,” said Lansing Township resident Amanda Jamelson. Jamelson and her fiancé donned their running gear for the Blarney Stone 5k this past Sunday.

The Blarney Stone, which consisted of a 5k run/walk, a 10k run, and a half-marathon, kicked off its first event in the nearby city of Potterville.

“It really benefits the community as a whole when people are more active,” said Blarney Stone co-organizer Amanda Morehouse. “It’s great when people get moving, get outdoors, and get involved in the community.”

The run raised over $2,100 for its causes, the Mid-Michigan Cat Rescue and the Potterville Parks and Recreation fund.

“We were very pleased with the turnout and support that we had in out very first year,” said Morehouse.

The event also offered a beer tasting, food and picture opportunities after the races.

“We aimed to make it a post-race mini festival,” Morehouse said.

The event brought in 224 runners and over three-dozen volunteers. Morehouse said that its charities played a big part in gaining community support.

“The Mid-Michigan Cat Rescue does great things in our area, and the additional funds for improving the parks will be utilized by families, children, adults and teams,” she said.

“Our cat is a rescue, and it was really motivating that we could make a difference just by running,” said Jamelson. “[My fiancé] Jim and I decided that whichever of us finished last had to donate an extra $50.”

Making a difference for women

The Playmakers Fitness Foundation held its third annual St. Patty’s Day Women’s Run in Bath as well this Sunday.

“It started off as a race for our team and has grown every year, from family and friends to people looking to support our cause,” said event organizer Michelle Phillipich.

Playmakers Fitness Foundation is an organization dedicated to health and fitness in women and other groups. The run is a milestone for their women’s team.

“They are truly amazing to watch,” said Phillipich. “A lot of the women have never taken time for themselves, you know, they’ve been raising families. So it is very inspiring to see them out there, setting their own goals.”

Proceeds from the run go to the Playmakers Foundation, which promotes fitness and sponsors events for groups of all ages.

“Our main mission is to get people moving, and moving properly, to promote health and wellness,” said Phillipich. “Good form is important, whether our runners are from elementary schools or nursing homes.”

“I think fitness is important regardless of your age and gender. It is always an important thing to be up and moving,” said Jamelson.

The St. Patty’s Day Run is the inaugural event of the Playmaker’s Fitness Foundation’s training kickoff, a program for women that includes training sessions and exercise classes in order to promote wellness.

“Those women are warriors,” said Phillipich.

A brisk jog

“We were hoping that with March being the tail end of winter, we would have gotten more favorable weather,” said Morehouse. “Boy, were we wrong!”

Temperatures were around 10 degrees at each race’s 9:00 am start time, and remained well below 20 degrees for the entirety of the event.

“We were expecting dropouts due to the cold temperatures, but we were extremely pleased with the race day turnout,” said Morehouse. “Those that crossed the finish line in such unseasonably cold temperatures are tough stuff!”

Despite the winter chill, both races had successful turnouts, with 130 participants for the St. Patty’s Day run. The Blarney Stone attracted some of its runners from as far as Ohio.

“Part of encouraging people to get active in colder temperatures is to make the even fun,” said Morehouse.

Those that missed out on this month’s races can sign up for the Blarney Stone’s follow up event in July, the Freedom 5k. Playmakers will be holding another women’s run in June, the Sole Sisters 5k.

“Anytime you see people reach their personal fitness goals, it is a success,” said Phillipich.

By Brooke Kansier

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