The sun dazzled as celebrity runner Erin Finn, All-American runner for the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, counted down the starts for the thirty-ninth running of the Burns Park 5K & 10K races held at the corner of Wells St. and Baldwin Avenue in Ann Arbor amid forty degree temperatures.
“I am so honored to be this year’s celebrity runner,” Finn expressed. “I love to run and love that this race promotes a healthy lifestyle through running.”
A fundraiser to support the Burns Park Elementary PTO and other local school PTOs through its Run for Schools program, Ann Arbor Track Club President, Mitch Garner, is resolute that “the Burns Park Run is the greatest community race in the country with the most volunteers, community spirit and youth participation.”
Finn, who led the kids through a series of warm-ups before their race starts, confirmed that there was no shortage of energy –
“They were all so excited!”
Seven year old, William Shaieb, fully supported by his family who also took part in the races, ran the half mile fun run, his first race ever.
“I really liked getting my energy out,” William smiled and was none too pleased with the finisher ribbon awarded to him as he crossed the finish line.
Roaring to the finish line of the 5K were Alex Itkin, 16:39 and Rachel Ryan, 18:12.
Ryan, a first year medical school student at the University of Michigan, hails from Colorado.
“I love it here in Ann Arbor – the community, the scenery, such a great atmosphere!”
No stranger to hills, Rachel noted that the race course posed “just the right amount of challenge.”
Dominating those challenging hills on the two-loop 10K course were Nicholas Stanko, 32:14 and Natalie MacKenzie, 35:47.
With nearly 1,200 race participants, race directors, Ema Avsharian, Emily Mackler and Mark Crow are ever grateful for the wonderful turnout from within and outside of the Ann Arbor community but make special note that “they could not do it without their 130 plus volunteers” and further mention that “big plans” are already in the works for the 40th annual Burns Park Run 2018.