The name “Crim” for many runners around America is the name that is synonymus with one of the largest 10 milers in the USA as well as being a fantastic weekend of health and running activities. What many people may not know is that “Crim” was also the name of the Michigan House Speaker – Bobby Crim. He started the very first race back in 1977 and it became a festival and event that focused on health and fitness and is known throughout the world. What was once simply a 10 mile race has expanded greatly and now includes the Teddy Trot (a distance of 1/4 mile for younger runners), the Michigan Miles, 5K, 8K, and the signature 10 Mile race.
This running/fitness festival takes place each August in Flint, Michigan. It is an event that the whole city embraces and it is a very well put on event. The numbers that it draws to Flint for this event is amazing – in 2013, over 13,000 runners/walkers participated in the day’s events with almost 8,000 of them being finishers in the 10 mile run.
I ran the race a number of years ago and found it to be a very exciting affair. The expo competed with many marathon expos that I have been to. The race staff had done an excellent job of putting everything together. Packet pick-up was efficient, deals were plentiful, and the location was central.
Anytime there is an event of this magnitude in a smaller town (Flint has 100,000 people), parking becomes an immense chore. This is compounded when the city is small enough not to have multiple public transportation options. However, Flint handled the situation very well with dozens of parking garages and lots open for race participants. To the best of my memory, runners received free parking passes at the city garages so this greatly helped the situation.
Being a race in summer, it is smart for runners to be prepared for possibly high temperatures. The year I ran it, the temps and humidity were high. The people along the very scenic course helped the runners by putting out lawn sprinklers and hoses to cool us down.
As I said, the course was very beautiful and very pleasing to run through. The famous cobblestone streets once we re-entered the city made for a unique finish road. The people of Flint were kind to the visiting runners and came out in force in the neighborhoods to cheer us on. That is always a good sign of how well the people of the area are in appreciation of the race and I can tell you that the people of Flint were excellent!
Another nice touch along the course was the amount of entertainment. There were many school groups that were out to play their instruments and entertain us as we went by.
The race offers a discount for runners who sign-up for the Michigan Mile on Friday night and for a race on Saturday morning. However, to make it even more interesting for runners capable of finishing in time, check out how the starting times for the event work out:
- 10 mile race – 8AM
- 8K race – 9AM
- 5K race – 9:40AM
That means that there are many runners who could run the 10 mile race (or the 8K race) and then still take part in the 5K race. This works out great for families that are visiting for the race. For example, our family would be able to participate with me running the the 10 miler, my wife running the 8K, and then joining our children for the 5K walk after our races! What a nice way to make it a great family event day! Of course, for the faster of the runners, it would be possible to run all three races. 🙂
Travel for Crim
Due to the immense popularity of the event (the 10 mile race is the 4th largest in the US), there are thousands of runners who visit Flint for this event. This means that hotels can be had at a high premium if you have not planned well enough in advance. Here are some travel options to help you put the Crim on your calendar for 2014.
- Flint – AA, Delta, and United all fly into Flint and are options for your travels to the Crim (if you are flying from Chicago or NYC on American, you can use British Airways Avios to book your AA ticket for 9,000 points round-trip – see this post for more information)
- Detroit – Detroit Metropolitan Airport is 70 miles away (Detroit is a hub airport for Delta so should offer a great abundance of flight opportunities and award options)
- The host hotel is America’s Best Value Inn and Suites and has a special Crim rate
- Hilton options – Hampton Inn at 30,000 points per night
- IHG options – Holiday Inn Express and Holiday Inn at 10,000 points per night (this link takes you to an application for a credit card to give you 80,000 IHG points – I receive no commission for this link)
- Marriott – Courtyard Flint (10,000 points) and Residence Inn Flint (15,000 points)
- Wydnham – Super 8 (2 at 10,000 points), Wingate (16,000 points), Baymont Inn and Suites (14,000 points)
For hotels for such an event like this, the best strategy would be to select the most convenient hotel and book it now (if you have the points) or earn the points necessary to book it with points. Most hotel reward programs offer fee free cancellations up to the day before. So, if you lock in the reservation now, you will have until just before the race to decide if you need it (though I imagine you will know well before that!). We had stayed at the Holiday Inn Express when we were there and the proximity was perfect for us (as well as being the first time our first-born went in a pool – she was a couple months old:) ).
The 10 mile distance is an excellent race distance and the Crim puts on one of the top 10 milers in the country. The whole festival and event really is a family-friendly affair and it would make a nice weekend destination for the whole family. Should you run one of the distances, you will find yourself surrounded by runners the entire time. It is definitely an event that I plan on returning to one day. Hopefully, I will see some of you there!