Brooksie Way introduces new kids races, run for young athletes with disabilities this year

So your son or daughter is not a marathoner just yet. That doesn’t mean they can’t feel like one next weekend as the sixth annual HealthPlus Brooksie Way marks the turn of another fall season.


Photo courtesy of

Youngsters are now invited to run in the new set of races just for kids and young athletes with disabilities.

Parents can cheer on their young runners without the time crunch of their own race, as kids events will take place Saturday, Sept. 28, prior to adult races on Sunday.

“It’s kind of hard for the families to enjoy watching the kids run, when they’re running too on the same day,” said Deb Kiertzner, race director for the HealthPlus Brooksie Way.

And through the process, the kids races evolved into two different parts.

Beginning at 2 p.m., there will be three races with varying lengths by age group. The Tot Trot (50 yards), Little Kids (200 yards) and Big Kids (365 yards) respectively.

Starting points will differ, but all races will wrap up at the same finish line.

For $10, all participants will get a runner’s bib with race numbers, a finisher’s medal and finish line food, “just like a big race,” Kiertzner said. Even the Brooksie race announcer will host the kid races.

“We just want to give them the experience of a road race,” Kiertzner said, “It’ll be something for every youngster at every level.”

The second new installment in this year’s events is the Victory Run for Young Athletes with Disabilities.

As the first set of kids races wrap up around 3 p.m., all young athletes with disabilities are invited to race the same course, for free.

“It’s really going to showcase (participants’) abilities and excitement and (celebrate) a lot of disabled people who are athletic in their own way,” said Sarah Henry, development events coordinator for the Special Olympics of Michigan.

The group does not want to label the run a Special Olympics race, as it encompasses the assortment of disabilities facing members of the community.

“Special Olympics of Michigan is 100 percent behind that and we’re going to try and grow our relationship throughout the year so that we can be a part of it next year and for many years to come,” Henry said.

Finishing metal kids will receive this year, in new races

A sneak peek at the 2013 kids race medal design for all participants on Saturday, Sept. 28 at Oakland University in Rochester Hills. Photo provided by Deb Kiertzner, race director for all HealthPlus Brooksie Way events.

Since it is the first year these kids races are offered, Kiertzner is uncertain how many young runners will hit the course, but her team stands ready with 500 medals on hand.

“No child who runs that day will walk away without a medal,” Kiertzner said.

Race director since the first year of Brooksie Way events, Kiertzner relates coordinating akin to having children in itself.

“We always joke that being a race director is kind of like giving birth—You nurture this event for almost a whole year and then when it gets close, you’re pulling your hair out because it’s literally painful with all the things that can happen,” she said.  “But once it occurs, it’s marvelous and you can’t wait to do itagain.”

And she couldn’t do it without her team.

“There are so many details that go into it, and I have my fabulous crew and that’s how it all happens,” she said.

For full race day details, check out And to register online, visit

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About Jen Bucciarelli

Veggie lover and aspiring word chef, reporter Jen Bucciarelli covers all things health and medicine for Rochester Media and The Community Edge. She is always on the hunt for local experts who can help improve the lives of our readers. Send her a note at

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