Brownell-Holmes’ CrimFit Training Program is making sure residents get a chance to run the Crim

FLINT, Michigan —Despite the HAP Crim Festival of Races’ cancellation this year, members of the Brownell-Holmes CrimFit Adult Training Program Team are still committed to crossing the marathon’s finish line, even if they have to do it virtually.

Between Aug. 14 and 23, race participants will be able to complete any of the 10-mile, 5-mile or 5K routes throughout Genesee County set by the Crim organization. They will also have the option to set their own courses.

Though no records will be recognized, the Crim still urges participants to submit their times and photos taken along the trip to the HAP Virtual Crim finisher results page.

Brownell-Holmes Crim training group leader and Holmes STEM Academy Family Engagement Facilitator Ashley Strozier says she’s glad the race will still be available in some capacity. To her team members, the race represents months of commitment.

“I’ve very happy the Crim has decided not to totally cancel the race but to move to a virtual option,” Strozier says. “Sometimes you have individuals that come January say, ‘It’s my goal to do the Crim in August.’ You never know how much that race means to somebody. It’s more than just a race. … It’s a personal goal for some folks.”

This is Strozier's third year serving as group leader for Brownell-Holmes’ training team and her 10th year participating in the Crim. Although she says she's not a runner or a marathoner, she's been hooked on the race since the first time she did it.

“Even one year when I was physically unable to race, I signed up to hand out pizza, pop and beer,” Strozier says. “That was still a very memorable experience.”

Being a group leader has allowed Strozier to further channel her passion and excitement for the race. Getting together for socially-distanced jogs with other team members, Strozier says, makes staying motivated much easier.

“That’s what I enjoy about being a group leader," she says. "You get these people together, even if they’re on different physical levels. We all have the same goal in mind, and that’s getting across the finish line.”

Rose Taylor, a team member and former physical education coordinator at both Brownell and Holmes STEM Academies through the Crim Fitness Foundation, was apprehensive about running the Crim at first.

According to Taylor, she’d always loved sports and had wanted to run the Crim since she first found out about it. Despite that, her weight, which she wasn’t comfortable with, kept her from doing so.

“I’d always been interested but everyone I’d see doing it was athletic,” Taylor says.

It wasn’t until a co-worker invited her to train with the Brownell-Holmes team that Taylor decided she would make a go of it. She says her work with the Crim Foundation and students at the two elementary schools helped inform her about how to stay healthy during training.

“I was like, 'Well, you know, maybe it won’t be so bad,’" she says. "Working for the Crim, I learned a lot about nutrition and how to eat better. I started losing weight that way and by walking around the track with the team.”

During her time working in the Brownell-Holmes neighborhood, Taylor says the running track located on the two schools' campus served as a catalyst for residents joining the race.

When the team would walk there, both adults and children would approach and join them. Many would leave the track having made the decision to run the race themselves.

“A lot of times, people would stop or kids would stop and ask what we were doing. I thought that was pretty cool because then many more kids ended up getting involved because they saw us doing it,” Taylor says.

For many Brownell-Holmes residents like Strozier, this year’s virtual option will allow them to run Flint’s historic race on the streets of their own community.

“I encourage everybody to try the Crim at least once because once you do it one time, it’s very difficult not to want to be a part of it every year,” said Strozier. “You don’t have to be at peak fitness or have the best apparel or to be an expert. You just need to set a goal and have the passion to finish.”

Read more articles by Santiago Ochoa.

Santiago Ochoa is a freelance reporter and communications student at UM-Flint. He is the project editor for On The Ground community reporting series and currently serves as The Michigan Times' Editor-in-Chief. Santiago has worked with publications and organizations like The New York Times, the Interamerican Press Association and Flint Beat. You can reach him @santi8a98 on Twitter and Instagram and email him at [email protected]
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