TRAVERSE CITY—In just a few days, months of hard work and hustle will pay off for a group of college students who are connecting with the local running community to help raise awareness and funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Michigan.

These students in the Northwestern Michigan College Professional Communications class have learned first-hand all it takes to organize a 10K, 5K and kids fun run.

“This race has become a huge priority to the class,” says student Abby Gudith, who serves as the marketing and media director of the third annual BIG Little Hero Race taking place this Saturday, April 15 at Northwestern Michigan College. “We started just trying to get a good grade and now we care about the future of the race, this year’s event, and Big Brothers Big Sisters. The class is completely dedicated to giving this service learning project everything we have. Being able to include community organizations as sponsors, racers and hopefully future Bigs is an important task that we are 100% committed to. It also offers us, the students, a real-life, hands-on experience working with local businesses and nonprofits so we can improve our communication and leadership skills.”

This superhero-themed event includes a kids fun run in addition to the 10K and 5K, costume awards and post-race festivities like face painting, music, snacks, silent raffle and more. Online registration continues through 11:59 p.m. today, Wednesday, April 12. Use these codes to save on your race entry (online only):


In-person registration is available Friday night during packet pick-up (5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. and Saturday morning before the race start. Learn more about registration here »

Another important component of this race is honoring a local hero. This year the students decided to honor Sonja Olshove, a longtime and beloved NMC instructor who passed away last year.

“Sonja believed that everyone should have a hero and was involved with the Hero Imagination Project … Sonja was a NMC superhero and we wanted to celebrate and remember her,” Gudith says.


Students say they are thrilled with the success of this race—last year’s event raised about $26,000, and the students have a goal of exceeding that amount this year. All proceeds benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“I believe there have been a few key factors that contribute to the ongoing success of the Big Little Hero Race,” says student Erik Charters. “Firstly, it is important to understand what the race represents; it has been and will always be our main goal to both raise awareness and raise funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan while continuing to host a successful event. With all proceeds being donated to the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, this race and surrounding community play a significant role with those involved in this program.”

“In addition, this race is organized by a group of students at Northwestern Michigan College,” he adds, “and we have had the unique opportunity to have many innovative and creative team members who have always brought new perspective and ideas to help form and improve the race from year to year.  Also, much of the feedback I have received from runners and families that have participated in the past, is that this event is inclusive and seems to hit everyone’s needs in that if you are an avid runner and want to take this seriously, this event is officially timed and you can take it seriously; however, if you are more into the ‘relaxed family atmosphere,’ we have the one mile fun run, and a variety of family friendly events after the race concludes that meets those needs.

“With all the heart and soul that goes into organizing this race each year and knowing its benefits, it is clear that the community support continues to improve and we hope to have continuing success hosting this event in the future.”

Ready to sign up? Register here » Hope to see you there!

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