Optimists bring Run for Childhood Health back to Farmington

A fundraising run to help children with serious illnesses will return to downtown Farmington in 2020, by popular demand.

Farmington city council members on Monday approved a special event request for the Michigan Optimists 5K Run/Walk for Childhood Health and Wellness, which will be held on Saturday, May 16 – also the Farmington Farmers and Artisans Market’s opening day.

Maria Taylor Johnna Balk David Delind for Farmington city council

Representing the Michigan Optimists, Pam Barckholtz told officials that response from the first event on June 8 “was so great, and people enjoyed it so much… they asked us would you please do it again.”

Barckholtz said the Optimist Club decided on support for childhood health because “healthy kids turn into healthy adults, and healthy adults turn into healthy community members, and healthy community members are active participants and they give back.”

Last year’s event raised more than $7,000 for Michigan health centers that treat children with serious illnesses. This year, Barckholtz said, the group hopes to increase attendance from 100 to 200, and double the amount raised.

The run will be a timed and sanctioned event, which should help boost participation. That means finding different start and finish lines, along with other adjustments, Barckholtz said.

Mayor Sara Bowman, who is a runner, said going to a timed run is a “big leap”. During last year’s fun run, people stayed on sidewalks and stopped for red lights.

Now we’re talking about closing down some streets,” Bowman said. “It ups the game, and you’ll get more people.”

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