Blue Ribbon 5K Run/Walk for Prostate Cancer.

Race director, Amy Fritz, welcomed 123 runners and walkers, to the 3rd annual Blue Ribbon 5K run/walk benefiting Us TOO, a prostate cancer education and support group and their local fight against prostate cancer. Presented by Byte Productions, Sept  23rd, 2017 at the Filling Station in the depot, Traverse City, the run was held in memory of Curt Barrons,The event was conducted in beautiful weather, on a lovely course around Boardman Lake and nearby neighborhoods.  Amy’s dad is a prostate cancer survivor, so Amy had plenty of motivation to walk the 5K course accompanied by her 6 year old poodle/bischon, Charlie. Amy is also participating with the Traverse City Track Club training to help motivate her to run more. Amy was accompanied by her dear friend, Stevie Murray, of Charlevoix, who runs to relieve her stress.

The race featured tables of information and free goodies by Us Too, The US Air Force, and WKLT Radio, which featured on-air personalities, Ida Reed and “California Girl”, Nicole Pence.  Sponsors were Byte Productions, Susan Rauser State Farm, The Stireman Team, Cherry Capital Cab, GNC( Zack Schwartz and Tristan Sharba, represented GNC), Williams Honda, Oryana & WKLT.  Over $3,000 was raised to fight prostate cancer. Race results can be found at this link; Blue Ribbon 5K Run-Walk  

Our first “winner” was not the fastest, but John McComb is a winner in the race we call “life”.  John, 75, from TC, has been walking 15 years. John beat prostate cancer which runs in his family. He was born with a defective heart valve. Running was impossible, but he could play sports. After open heart surgery, doctors inserted a pig valve in his heart. John’s message to you; “Get active! Move it or lose it.”

Doug Dornbos, of event sponsor, Cherry Capital Cab, is another “winner”. Although Doug did not walk the course, he won a bigger race, he won his battle with cancer. Doug had a prostatectomy in 2016. “It’s not slow-growing”, Doug warns. “Mine was aggressive. My doctors said I was lucky to have acted fast.”

Matt Thomas, 60, of TC, walked the course because of the cause. Today, Matt was a “winner”. Matt walks regularly to maintain his health. Matt is a cancer survivor. His dad and brother are cancer survivors. Matt says; “Get out and do what you like to do”. Matt is especially important to me. Matt introduced me to the love of my life, my wife, Sally. Sally and I met 27 years ago, today, on our Jewish High Holiday of Rosh Hashanah. Thank you, Matt.

Mike Novak, 69 of Harrietta, is a Navy Veteran, Thank you for your service, Mike. He was a director of surface warfare, EED, a diversity director and on the Pentagon staff. This is Mike’s 4th race this month. Mike gives this advice to non-runners; “If you can’t run, jog. If you can’t  jog, walk. If you can’t walk, come and cheer me on.” For Bill Swift, age 74, of TC, this is his 1062nd race. Congratulations on your special accomplishment, Bill. Let’s hope we are all looking so good when we reach #1062.

Donna Hollister, 62, the director of the prostate cancer support group, Us Too, walked the 5K. Donna walks for exercise because she enjoys it. She recently returned from South Carolina where she walked 3 miles every morning. TSgt Phil Allen, recruiter, is a 15 year veteran of the Air Force. The Air Force likes to get involved with community efforts such as the Blue Ribbon 5K. “We’re always looking for fit people to join our special operations team.” David Houck, 21, is competing in the 5K, and is getting ready to ship out for Air Force basic training. Many other Air Force members, recruits and trainees supported the 5K. Thank you all for your service. Today, the star of the Air Force group had to be Kaitlin Leake, of TC, a volunteer with the Air Force group. Kaitlen, a course marshal, was joined at her marshal’s post by a pair of mallard ducks parked near her feet. I have run hundreds of races, thousands of miles, but I have never seen anything like those friendly ducks. Amazing! Go Air Force!!! Go Mallards!!!

Tim Manzer, 58, of TC, survived a near-fatal motorcycle accident. Tim spent many weeks in a hospital, fought serious depression, and beat me today. Tim, you are a lesson in perseverance for everyone. Tim was accompanied by his rescue dog, Bentley, a 6 year old, from the rescue group, Paws. Lori Anderson, 60, stopped smoking. Running keeps her active. Lori, who won her age group, says; “Get out and move. Running is good for your joints, your self-esteem and your confidence.” Matthew Ross, 53, director of the Dune Dash and the Zombie Run, runs for stress relief and weight loss. Rebecca Noffke, 34, participated with her children, Brady, 5, and Brynn, 10 weeks. Jessica Stark brought her family to cheer hubby Chris and son Eric, both age group winners.

Now we come to the amazing Amato family. Beverly Amato, 86, from Fenton, cheered for her family, in a UM chair, GO BLUE!. Vicki Amato, 53, of Suttons Bay, runs with the TC Track Club for the social aspect. Vicki suffered a knee injury while scuba diving. Running is helping her return her knee to normal. She started out with a knee brace, but after 31 races this year, no more brace. Vicki is leading the track club Grand Prix series. Vicki’s husband, Duane, recently returned from representing the USA in the World Triathlon Championships held in Rotterdam, Netherlands, where he took 19th in his age group. Both Duane and Vicki won their age group, today. Congratulations to the Amato’s.

Amy Fritz would love to see you at next year’s Blue Ribbon 5K Run/Walk for Prostate Cancer to help benefit an important cause. Amy does not guarantee friendly mallards next year, but she’ll try. Remember to ask your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Mickey Fivenson, 75, is a stroke survivor. Mickey’s doctor credits running to his survival. He is a 100 pound loser. A former director of the National Cherry Festival Races, Mickey founded the Cherry Festival Golden Mile and Wheelchair Races. He has completed over 60 marathons and holds a marathon world record with sons, Zack and Adam. He has trained 150,000+ miles in 48 years of running. Today, he took second place in his age group.  If you’d like tips on running, on marathons, if you have a story to share how running has impacted your life, or if you would like coverage of your race, following is a link to contact Mickey .  


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