For the fourth year, business students at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City are planning for the BIG Little Hero Race, held on campus on Saturday, April 14. This superhero-themed race raises funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan.

I look forward to the opportunity each spring to meet with this class and help spread the news of this family-friendly 10K, 5K, and kids fun run. It’s 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.

I caught up with Meg Rosenberg, one of the NMC business communications students, and a few of her classmates to learn more about this year’s race. Here’s what they had to share (and keep watching the Michigan Runner Girl Facebook page in the next week here for a race giveaway and discount code news!):

What was passed on from last year’s class/race organizers in terms of what was learned at the 2017 event, and what changes, if any, will there be for this year’s event?

Each year the class is different and we have different talents and ideas come forth which is exciting to work with! Kristy McDonald is the professor for this class, Professional Communications, and she is such a great leader. There are also past students/leaders who come in and help Kristy and the class, showing us how they did things in the past that were successful.

I think one example would be the 5K turnaround. Each year we strive to find better ways to make the 5K halfway point clearer for our racers. This year we have even more ideas about how to improve the course with clearer signs and more volunteers. Another area we have worked hard to improve is our award ceremony. We are looking for better ways to celebrate the winners while waiting for everyone to finish the course.

How would you describe the race experience? What are the 10K and 5K courses like?

The 5K is great for runners and walkers. The 10K is a great practice run for those training for other local races such as the Bayshore Marathon. Both courses start on the beautiful NMC campus and then move out to the peninsula – providing stunning views of the bay.

The race experience is fun and whimsical but also provides a great opportunity for competition. The race is timed by Endurance Evolution. We want to keep it family friendly while still providing a true race experience.

What does this mean to NMC students to organize a community race? Why is it important to partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters?

It is such an honor to be a part of something like this. This class has put a new spin on learning. We get to learn hands on and for me personally, that is how I learn best. Big Brothers Big Sisters stands for and supports something that is so important, which is helping our children — helping them build a strong and consistent relationship with a mentor to help them with their future.

The children ARE our future and every child should have someone there to support them and love them through life and help show them how capable and worthy they are…and that is what BBBS does. How incredible is that? So, for NMC to be able to partner up with them with the goal of raising money to continue supporting their cause is such an important task.

How much was raised for BBBS, thanks to this event last year? How much has been raised overall?

The Big Little Hero race has raised over $70,000 since its first year. Last year, the race raised $40,000. This year we hope to raise money, but most importantly, we want to raise awareness! We donate 100% of the proceeds to BBBS.

This race will honor Blair Elementary School students and families. Can you talk about this — Why this decision was made, how they’ll be recognized?

We love the teachers and staff members at all the local elementary schools so this was a hard nomination but we heard about some awesome strides that Blair has made in their academics and felt they deserved to be celebrated!

The team, which consists of students, BBBS, and community members, wanted to honor Blair Elementary to highlight their commitment and passion to serving students every day – true local heroes. Blair Elementary will be kicking off the fun run, will be honored on our race shirts, and will be recognized during the award ceremony. We can’t wait to hear from the Blair students as to why they think they are heroes!

What will the post-race experience be like? 

The post-race will include a variety of food and the carnival with many different games and other activities (games, treats, crafts, balloon animals, face painting and more!). The carnival will be available not just after the race, but during as well for those who won’t be running. We have an award ceremony where we hand out awards for each age category, but also for best costumes! We have awards for best dressed: boy/girl, team, adult male/female, and even dog! Only friendly pups on leashes are allowed.

We have also invited local heroes like the police and firefighters to join us for the event. Last year they brought a police car and a fire truck so the children could check them out!

Any great costume ideas to share with runners who plan to sign up for this race?

Have fun and be creative! We see all kinds of things each year and it is so much fun. Dress your dog up too! Adults and kids come as all kinds of superheros. If there are families running/walking with strollers…decorate your stroller!

Anything else you would like to add?

On behalf of the class, we would like to thank you for your time with us and we are looking forward to another great race and helping BBBS! If any of your readers would like a free race entry to pass on to honor a local hero we would love to hear their story and would be happy to send a free race entry to them. All they need to do is email or PM us (find the student race organizers at their race page on Facebook or at the race web site here » If you cannot race/jog/walk but are still interested in helping BBBS please visit this organization’s website here » 

Register by March 21 to recieve the early bird discounted rate. Register by March 21 to secure your super awesome race shirt. Our race shirts come in men’s and women’s sizes and are printed by our super sponsor Pickle Print & Marketing. We are sorry but there are no refunds for this event.  Packet pick-up will be in NMC’s West Hall from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Friday April 14 and Saturday (the morning of the race) 7:30 – 8:30 a.m.

In person registration will be available Friday, April 13 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm, as well as on race day from 7:30am- 9:00am at NMC’s West Hall.

Ready to sign up? Learn more and get registered here »

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