It’s a milestone year for the Northwestern Michigan College business students who are behind the BIG Little Hero Race, a family-friendly 10K & 5K & kids fun run held on the Traverse City campus each April. This superhero-themed race, which raises funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan, is celebrating its fifth year. Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 13.
I look forward to the opportunity each spring to meet with this class, hear how things are coming along in their planning, and help spread the news of this event (we always record a podcast together, which is a lot of fun. Stay tuned for this year’s edition, coming soon!)
This race is always a great time—runners and walkers dress up in fun superhero costumes (I was Wonder Woman one year) and there are tons of activities post-race for kids and their families. It’s also a perfect training race for Traverse City Bayshore runners. Most importantly, the race benefits an essential organization in the community, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Michigan.
Here are 6 reasons you’ll want to sign up for this year’s milestone event:

1.) You’re supporting college students and their “real-life” experience of putting on a community event.

While many races give back to local charities, as this one does, not too many also play a role in building confidence in students as they learn skills like race planning and logistics, time management, marketing and promotion, relationship-building, communication strategies, and more. “Previous years’ classes have left notes to help overcome any unseen challenges,” says Liz Manor, a member of the marketing team. “A lot of improvements have been made from what was used in the previous years. We have learned how to use our time efficiently due to weather canceling classes and how to come together as leaders and teams to utilize our time outside of class … This gives students the opportunity to work directly with the community while practicing the skills being learned during the semester. What better way to not only work with an established organization but impact the community around us.

2.) You can channel your inner Captain Marvel. Or Ironman, Hulk, Spiderman, or Superman…

“We suggest you dress as your favorite superhero,” Liz says. “Family-organized costumes also are encouraged. There will be prizes given out to best costumes for adult male/female, child boy/girl, and group/family pet.”

3.) You’ll love the race course. (Water views!)

“Our costume-encouraged superhero race is designed to be fun, yet challenging enough for experienced runners,” Liz says. The race will start out with a children’s choir, performing the national anthem with local firefighters, police officers, and other emergency responders present. The 5K and 10K starts at the NMC campus and is part of the Bayshore Marathon route and follows along beautiful East Bay, up Old Mission Peninsula and back to the NMC. “We also have a 1-mile fun run. Every kid also receives a free College for Kids cape,” she says.

4.) You’re supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan.

Since it’s inception five years ago, the BIG Little Hero Run has raised more than $80,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan. “More importantly, it has helped raise awareness for the organization,” Liz says. A little more about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan: it provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. The organization currently serves children in a 5 county region in Northwestern Michigan including Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse and Kalkaska counties. For nearly 50 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan has been bringing smiles to the faces of children by matching them with adult volunteers in fun and rewarding mentoring relationships. The impact it has on children in the program is priceless, and the heartwarming stories we’ve collected from Big and Littles in our program over the years are endless.

5.) You’ll be part of honoring this year’s Local Here—Ty Schmidt of Norte.

Ty Schmidt

Each year, the students select a local hero to honor on race day. This year’s recipient: Ty Schmidt, who along with his wife Johanna, founded Norte, Northern Michigan’s youth-focused, active transportation-centered, neighborhood-based 501c3 advocacy organization. Norte’s mission is to help build stronger, better connected and more walk/bike friendly communities by empowering the young and young at heart through our many projects, initiatives, and programs.

“We believe Ty was a great choice because of the commitment he has made to children’s health and well-being. This year he will be honored with the 2019 Local Hero Award and lead the 1-mile fun run,” Liz says.

6.) The race after-party is top-notch.

Stick around after crossing the finish line fun family activities such as silent auctions, a carnival, stilt walker and balloon artist. There will be a cake walk and prizes given out for best costumes and medals for the top runners. Food will also be available for all participants.

A final word from the students …

“NMC’s business students for Big Brothers Big Sisters would like to thank everyone who has been a part of our extended learning beyond just the classroom. Being able to have real-life experiences working with the community and seeing everyone come together for such a great cause has been very humbling. Without the support of local businesses, this event would not be as successful as it has been. We are looking forward to seeing everyone on race day, April 13, 2019 at our NMC Campus.”

Not a runner, but still want to support this great cause? Please consider being a sponsor! The main goal of the Big Little Hero Race is to raise funds, and awareness for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan. Local businesses and community members can all be heroes, and are encouraged to donate generously.  There are four different sponsorship levels, each with their own perks, and even the smallest bit helps. With your help, this super event is sure to make a difference in our community.

Ready to sign up? Register here »

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