Brooksie Way comes to campus

By Brian Figurski

In 2007, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson wanted to create a “quality of life” event to promote health and wellness in Oakland County.

Thanks to his vision, The Brooksie Way half marathon is coming to Oakland University for its fourth year on Sunday, bigger and better than before.

The Brooksie Way, a phrase from the eulogy of Patterson’s son who was killed in a tragic snowmobile accident in ’07, has been increasing in popularity by more than 500 racers a year, so far on track to surpass the goal.

“This year, we’re ahead of last year by about 700,” Patterson said. “As people do the race and enjoy it they tell their friends and the racing community is pretty tight.”

The half marathon itself will challenge runners with the hills of the area, and delight the senses as racers move onto both the Paint Creek and Clinton River Trail.

The single change to the course relates directly to OU, moving the start and finish line deeper onto school grounds near Meadow Brook Hall.

There will be post-race activities on campus, food and entertainment. Along with the Meadow Brook activities, the OU Rec Center will transform into the site for the Fitness Expo that annually comes with The Brooksie Way, with the Rec Center providing a bigger stage for more vendors.

An increase in sponsors also means an increase in profit, which funneled into Patterson assembling the Brooksie Way mini-grant, which applies to organizations in Oakland County with a goal of improving health, giving them an opportunity for extra funding in their noble cause.

“We support health programs in the local communities all across the county, [such as] a dance class for seniors or a swim class for challenged kids,” Patterson said. “When word got out what we do with the money, the mini-grant became very competitive and sought-after.”

Another new implement to the race is an electronic messaging service, that “when you cross the finish line, a message is generated and sent out by e-mail, text, Twitter,” that publishes your final race time, Huber said.

The Brooksie Way is quickly becoming a serious stage for runners across the state looking for a run with a view, and promotes a great message of maintaining a good level of physical fitness.

“Over the next 15 years if we keep this up, you’ll see an elevation in the health and well-being of the citizens and that’s the long range goal,” Patterson said. “It’s got a positive impact and is an excellent way to keep my sons name alive.”

Online registration for the Brooksie Way will close at midnight, Thursday Sept. 29. The marathon will be held Saturday, Oct. 2 at 8 a.m.