Film Fest debuts 5K masquerade & revives the Golden Mile
By Erin Crowell 7/27/09
This Saturday, memories will come flooding back for some Traverse City residents -- memories as clear as the images on a filmstrip.
Added to this years bigger-than-ever Traverse City Film Festival are two races. One, reminiscent of the Cherry Festival, circa late 1990s: an elite, invite-only mile race. The other, a 5K Fun Run.
Bryan Burns and Eric Houghton of the Traverse City Track Club (the same organization that hosts the Bayshore Marathon) have spearheaded the project of bringing elite runners back to the Traverse City area for the Golden Mile.
We used to have the Golden Mile race for the Cherry Festival, but for whatever reason, it was discontinued, says Burns.
For the TC Film Festival Golden Mile, athletes from all over the country will compete for $1,000, with an added bonus to any man breaking the four-minute mile mark; and the woman to get under 4:30.
For those unfamiliar with mile pace, that is flying.
Its a very exciting event, says Houghton. Were pretty sure Geena Gall will be racing.
Gall, a two-time NCAA 800-meter champion from the University of Michigan, recently qualified to run at the World Championships in Berlin, set for August 15-23.
So far, weve got seven men and seven women confirmed for the race, says Burns. The field is top notch. It would rival anything in high caliber.
While some of the countrys most elite athletes will have their time to shine, runners from the area may have their own moment on the red carpet with the Film Festival 5K Fun Run.
Runners are encouraged to dress in costume for the race. And although a costume is not required, the runner with the best costume wins a round-trip airfare ticket to anywhere in the U.S.
Judging the contest will be comedian Jeff Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm), and creativity is a must for this contest.
This race will be as fun for the spectators as it is for the participants, said 5K Race Director Doug Petersen. Our goal is to not only make this another great running event but to make it the craziest, most fun run entrants do.
The 5K race was inspired by the Bay to Breakers, a race out in California that embodies the concept of whacky and off-the-wall costume racing.
The race is well known out there, says Petersen. People really get into it. It used to be well-known for its naked runners.
Runners are encouraged to wear more than just their birthday suits when they cross the finish line at the Film Festival 5K, which will be a red carpet in front of the State Theatre.
Over 60 volunteers from the Traverse City Central, West and St. Francis cross country teams will help in course marshaling and athlete assistance for the Golden Mile.
Weve also got a couple dozen volunteers from the Film Festival and from the Track Club, says Houghton. Its a collaborative event.
Races will be Saturday evening, starting with The Golden Mile. It will begin at the corner of Front and Union streets and circle through the downtown blocks. The women are set to begin at 7:30 p.m., with the men following at 7:40 p.m. Runners in the 5K will be able to watch the mile race before departing by bus at 7:45 p.m. to Northwestern Michigan College. There, the race will start at 8 p.m. in Elm Lot and runners will head west towards downtown, where they will finish on the red carpet.
Costume judging and awards ceremony for the Golden Mile will happen at the Film Makers Party, located in the Wade Trim Parking Lot, at 8:30 p.m. Those registered for the races receive half off the entry fee to the party.
For more information, and to register for the Film Festival 5K Fun Run, visit traversecityfilmfest.org/events.