Race director, Michelle Elliott, the National Cherry Festival and 5/3 Bank, welcomed over 1000 runners. The runners interviewed are not the fastest runners, but they are runners who have impacted their lives by running. Frankly, they looked just like most of the other runners at the finish, fit, trim, drinking beer and eating cookies. They looked quite “normal” until I learned their amazing story. The winners are Ken and Jennifer Goodhue, of Traverse City. Ken, 56, lost 100# and lost 8” off his waist. He experiences no more back or knee pain. Ken has kept the weight off for 2 years. Jennifer, 53, is running, with doctor’s permission, on a fully replaced knee. She could not run, before the surgery. “Now, I can run”, she says. She runs three days each week. Congratulations to Ken and Jennifer Goodhue who may not have won a speed medal, but they won the race to a better life.
A close second was Barb Meredith, 68, of TC. Barb lost 24#, but her amazing feat is dropping her cholesterol from 260 to 130. In the process, Barb lost 10” overall (legs, thighs, waist, etc.). Barb shared her incredible story with me; “I started going to the gym and had a trainer who had me run around the building. When I told her my weight was dropping, two years ago, she asked me if I had ever run a 5K. I said no. The trainer told me I was running one in a few days. And I did it and I have run four 5Ks since then“. Apparently, Barb is bitten by the running, health bug the same as all of us. YOU GO, GIRL!!! Trisha Strahan, 53, from TC, has a family history of heart attacks and high cholesterol. Trish is beating the odds by running. Holly Murphy, 30, from Grayling, is a real Irish Princes, and was dressed as such. Holly’s grandfather was an Irish tenor and he designated Holly as an authentic “Irish Princess”. Judy Goodland, 47, of TC, experienced a drastic drop in her Blood pressure down to 110/70 and heart beat dropped to 65. Husband, Dan, 48, saw his blood pressure drop from 180/90 to 135/70. He lost 20# and 3 inches. He runs about 3 miles, 4 x each week and enjoys a “brew without any guilt”. Jeremy Treadwell, 57, of TC, runs so he can live to 100! He runs 15-20 miles each week. These folks are all winners in the game of life.
Jessica Stark, 34, from Kingsley, director of the Kingsley Heritage 5K, after the Cherry Festival Race, ran her first 5K since delivering a happy 11# baby, Madilyn, last June. Jessica was accompanied by son Eric, 7, and hubby, Chris. Zac Ligon, 45, from TC, ran High School track and currently runs 3-4 days each week. Karen Whitney, 53, from Lake City, has been running since seven years of age. Karen ran varsity cross country at Central Michigan University. Even though she had knee surgery, with doctor’s permission, she runs today, but mostly from hubby, Russell, 54, who says, with a smile, running helps with his sex drive. Maybe it’s not a joke. Russell lost 12# and has much more stamina. Laurie Kischnick, 54, from Marion, needed to get in shape. She lost 20# and trains 3 miles 4 times per week. Jeff Durga, 51, from Cadillac, runs to have fun with friends.
I was privileged to spend time with royalty. National Cherry Festival Queen, Ashley Schichtel was running her first 5K. Queen Ashley works out every day with boxing, yoga, and running laps. Ashley is a student in the doctor of nursing program at Grand Valley State College. She had so much fun that she is planning to race more. Queen Ashley was accompanied by Queen’s Committee volunteer, Heidi Szeslong who is training for a ½ marathon. Heidi has been running 15 years and has lost 10#.
Kat Paye, Executive Director of the Cherry Festival ,was in attendance helping wherever she could especially on the start and finish, as was Anna O’Connor, intern for the Festival, who helped at registration and handing out nice tee shirts. Anna won the internship job over many applicants because her college, CMU, has participated for several years with the Festival. Alle Gruziano was an important volunteer handing out winner’s medals. Allison Goss won another Bigfoot! Kidding, Allison, who directs the Frozen Foot Race, already has 8 Bigfoot Race statues and a separate room for them! Today she won a medal. Easier to carry.
Race director, Michelle Elliott, and the National Cherry Festival, invite you to next year’s Leapin’ Leprechaun 5K. Wear your green. Get healthy! But before you do, join Michelle and me for the Meijer National Cherry Festival of Races Saturday, July 7. You will experience one of the finest races in Northern Michigan. But before you do, ask your doctor when starting an exercise program.
Your author, Mickey Fivenson, age 76, has lost over 100 pounds and 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. If you’d like Mickey to cover your race, if you need tips on training, email mickey at telecomclassifiedads dot com. Today, Mickey took second place.