director Randi Stoltz and Aubrey Parker welcomed 223 runners and walkers to the 8th annual Betsie Bay Frozen 5K, Frankfort & Elberta MI, Feb 17, 2018. The race started in the hills above Elberta where we were bussed, then we looped around beautiful Betsie Bay and finished in downtown Frankfort at the VFW. Race results can be found here; link to results . Aubrey Parker helped Randi pickup sponsors and organize run logistics. This is a group effort with the Benzie Community Water Council, raising funds to fund a local scholarship for youth going into water studies, also funding and supporting water efforts.
Sponsored by Stormcloud Brewing Company, the 5K featured support from IPR Radio, Kathy Nevew Realtor, Precision Auto and Glass, Field Crafts, Benzie County Water Festival, Crystalaire Adventures, Betsie Bay Furniture, Betsie River Campsite, Byte Productions, Gerhart’s Tree Service, Webber Insurance, Paul Oliver Hospital/Munson Health, Bay Side Printing, Honor-Onekema Building Supply, Honor Bank, State Savings Bank, Coldwell Banker Realty, Landtech, Honor Collision, Orchard House, Lamont Builders, The Roadhouse, Camp Lookout, Jack Seaman, Arcadia Medical, Benzie County Visitors Bureau and The Market Basket(I won a random drawing of the Market Basket’s generous coupon). Randi Stoltz and Aubrey Parker awarded lots of champion awards and gave away many raffle prizes. The many raffle prize and tasty food providers can be found on the Betsie Bay 5K Facebook page.
Let’s begin with our “winners” award. The “winner” did not even race, today. He officiated a basketball game at the same time. But, without a doubt, Andy Micham is my “winner”. Andy has meant more to Frankfort and area running than most others. Andy has been organizing races in the Frankfort area for 35 years. I know because I was at his race 35 years ago. The morning of this race, Andy was on the course at 5AM organizing the starting line. No one was around to acknowledge Andy’s contribution, but he selflessly performed his volunteer duties. I know Andy has been a stalwart of Northern Michigan racing because I used to run with Andy in Traverse City Track Club races, 45 years ago, long before there was a dream of a Traverse City Track Club. Back then, the club was organized by George Kuhn. Wednesday races cost 50 cents or a donated race medal. Remember those days, Andy? “Thanks” to Andy was announced before the awards ceremony. Did you hear our clapping and cheering, Andy?
The Betsie Bay 5K provided many powerful stories of why runners run, why they came out and ran on a cold Winter day when they could have been curled up in front of the TV. I could not interview all runners to learn their stories, but following are a few interviews with people who have changed their lives through running; Frank Butz, 72, of Traverse City, is not only a poster boy for older runners, (He looks incredibly fit), Frank is also a prostate cancer survivor. Frank discovered the cancer 5 years ago. Today, Frank is cancer free. Frank also suffered a heart attack two years ago. Are Franks doctors aware of his running? Yes! The docs give him a resounding “yes” and encourage his physical activity.
Race director, Randi Stoltz, 32, from Beulah, has her own story to tell. To help clear her mind, and run for a greater cause, gender equality, Randi, ran seven marathons in seven days in the Congo! Randi lost a nephew and searched for a method to soften the grief. Randi trained about 40 miles each week to achieve her goal. Her advice; “Don’t’be scared. Anyone can do it!” Rhonda Workman, 63, from Mesick, is director of the Mesick Mushroom Festival 5K, held the Saturday before Mother’s day. Rhonda is a veteran. Thank you for your service, Rhonda. Rhonda and I ran together for two miles of this race. Rhonda nipped me at the finish line proving even mid-pack runners can have fun. All’s fair in love and war, right, Rhonda? Next time, I will catch you, Rhonda.
Jon Ottinger, 62, from Elberta, has suffered from diabetes since 2008. Running has helped him drop weight. The result, Jon’s need for insulin has been greatly reduced. Christine Hill, 42, of TC, has lost weight. Stacy Stremlow, 28, from Bay City, does Cross Fit training and was looking for some cross training. Oh yes, did I say Stacy was cross-dressed as an elk, or was it a moose? Linda Turner, 58, from Frankfort, experienced a February hip replacement and is just getting back in shape. In addition to running the 5K, Linda volunteered in registration and set-up. Linda started “Girls on the Run” in Frankfort, 13 years ago. Many girls owe Linda a vote of thanks. Katie Dorsey, 36, is operations manager at race sponsor, Stormcloud Brewing. Katie helped with registration. Katie reports she has better energy when she exercises.
Dale Lantzer, 60, of Kalkaska, runs to stay fit so he is better able to join his family mountain climbing. For Dale, running is a family affair. He was joined in today’s race by wife Kathy, 56, daughter, Hannah, 26, and son-in-law, Chris Moses, 31. Josh Stoltz, Randi’s brother, is an organizer of the Benzie Water Festival, a race supporter. Josh provided professional announcing. Josh, was everywhere cheering and high-fiving runners. Is Josh available to announce for other races? Corey Grimes, 34, from Cadillac, was the big loser of the race. Corey lost an amazing 200#. He lifts weights for the Stand Strength Team and has lost an additional 5# while losing another 4” around his waist.
Kerry Kayasserian, 63, of TC lost 30# and runs to spend quality family time with his wife, Donna, 60. Joan Milarch, 58, of Arcadia, runs for the socialization. Joan was a competitive race-walker for 10 years. She switched to running and “loves it”. Pamela Fink, 44, from Manistee, is an RN nurse. She directs The Ludington Hospital Hustle. Pamela runs to promote healthy living. She sees the results of unhealthy living every day in her job as a nurse. Pamela’s good friend, Sue Straley, 64, started running at age 55. She ran with her buddy, Pamela, during the Manistee Ultra marathon. Sue suffered from asthma and a sore back. Together, they prevailed. Sue recently put on weight as a result of steroids, but has lost some and plans to lose more. Kathy Houston, 68, from Bear Lake, finds running gives a huge boost to her optimism. Kathy says “Running is something anyone can do”. Kathy recalls when I had my restaurant supply company in TC. She was a client as an owner of an area campground. Debra Eller, 64, of Beulah, runs “to get my mind off politics’. Wonder what she means?
And now, let’s visit with one of my favorite racers. When you see his picture, you’ll know why. Tom Hitchman, 57, from Bloomfield Hills, is an executive with general motors. Tom runs for stress release. He lost 30#. All of his blood counts and cholesterol are under control. All right, I’ll tell you why he was a favorite. Tom got his BS at University of Michigan in 1982 and his MBA from U of M in 1984. U of M is my alma mater. I also earned my BS and MBA from UofM. Tom was dressed in all maize and blue. You will see his colors from the photo. GO BLUE!!
Race director, Randi Stoltz, Aubrey Parker and Andy Micham, encourage you to join next year’s Betsie Bay Frozen 5K. You will love the view of the bay. Maybe you will win a champion’s award or a raffle prize. Remember to ask your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Your author, Mickey Fivenson, has trained over 150,000 miles in 48 years of running. He has completed over 60 marathons and holds one marathon world record with his sons, Zack and Adam. Mickey is the former director of the National Cherry Festival Runs. Mickey’s doctors credit running toward surviving several strokes. Today, Mickey won his age group. If you’d like Mickey to cover your race, if you need tips on training, email mickey at telecomclassifiedads dot com.