By Zach Crim
In 1977, my grandfather founded the “Bobby Crim 10 Mile Road Race” to benefit the Special Olympics. To this day the race continues to raise money for the Crim Fitness Foundation, which now directs its efforts toward fighting the epidemic of childhood obesity and encouraging lifelong healthy habits among our youth. The race has taken place every August for the past 43 years…until this year. None of us could have foreseen the devastation and disruption that the COVID-19 crisis would bring, but it has fundamentally changed nearly every aspect of our lives. The Board of Directors, Race Committee, and Race Team made the difficult decision to move this year’s Crim to a “virtual race.” The race typically draws a crowd of tens of thousands of runners and spectators, raising funds to support the Crim Fitness Foundation, showcasing Flint’s vibrant community to the world, and providing a much-needed boost for downtown businesses. However, crowds of this size pose a serious health risk during a pandemic, and no race is worth risking anyone’s life.
I had the good fortune of growing up in a family that encouraged an active lifestyle, with a father who coached my youth sports teams, and a mother who made healthy, home-cooked meals. I grew up in a community with an abundance of parks and trails and attended a school that offered a wide array of athletic programs. These opportunities provided me with a clear advantage, allowing me to develop lifelong healthy habits and earn an athletic scholarship to further my education. I strive every day to provide those same opportunities to my daughter, but many children aren’t so lucky. Many have parents who work multiple jobs to make ends meet and, although they want to ensure their children have the tools to live a healthy lifestyle, other more pressing matters take precedence. They simply don’t have the time or resources to set a positive example through a healthy diet and exercise, provide the opportunity for their kids to play youth sports, or cook nutritious dinners every night. Many school districts, especially in urban areas, have been forced to eliminate physical education and athletic opportunities due to the underfunding of our public education system, placing many children at a further disadvantage.
The Crim Fitness Foundation has worked to provide thousands of children with the knowledge and opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle through after school programs that encourage mindfulness, physical activity, and nutrition education. A healthy lifestyle is a family affair, so CrimFit Adult Training Programs provide parents with guidance on their fitness journey and The Crim Fitness Foundation is continually working to ensure active families have places to enjoy the outdoors together through improving local trails and parks, as well as providing safe routes to school and bicycle-friendly streets. All these things add up to a quality of life and an environment that has tangible socio-economic benefits. A healthy community encourages our youth to stay in Flint and help build our 21st-century economy, as well as attracting energetic and creative people from everywhere to make Flint their home.
While this year’s HAP Virtual Crim is giving thousands of runners and walkers the opportunity to continue their commitment to the Crim, the community and their own health, the race’s lower pricing will result in a significantly reduced budget for the Crim Fitness Foundation’s many programs vital to the continued health of Flint families. The work that is funded by the annual Crim race is very important to me, which is why I have decided to run 100K (62 miles) from our state’s Capitol in Lansing to the Crim finish line in Flint to raise money for the Crim Fitness Foundation and awareness of the significant ways in which they help improve our community’s health.
The Crim believes that health and well-being is a fundamental right for everyone. Even so, today running is a privilege. I have the social and economic freedom to dedicate time each day to running, a freedom that many don’t have. Traits outside of my control allow me to run without fear – I don’t have the same worries that female runners and runners of color do when I step out the door. The ability to run ultramarathons is even more of a luxury. I seek out difficult challenges because I live a relatively comfortable life, and that is never lost on me. For many children, hardship is an inescapable reality they face daily, and I want to do what I can to level the playing field by working to provide everyone with equal opportunities. As a runner, the concept of giving everyone a fair start is important to me. Using my ability to run long distances to raise money for the Crim Fitness Foundation is one small way in which I can do that. If you would like to pledge, please visit tinyurl.com/supportzachcrim
You Can Show Your Crim Support!
Zach understands what the Crim means to this community and the access to health and wellness programming it offers to thousands of residents. His goal is to raise $100,00 to mitigate budgetary concerns for the Crim Fitness foundation cause by COVID-19 and our inability to host the physical gathering of the HAP Crim Festival of Races. Support him and the Crim by donating today. By making a donation, you are supporting the important programs that the Crim Fitness Foundation offers all year round throughout Genesee County. Every donation counts no matter how big or small.