WATERFORD, Mich. – June 7, 2011 – Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and AT&T Michigan today launched the Brooksie Way 5k Middle School Challenge, encouraging middle school students throughout the county to adopt a healthy lifestyle by participating in the Brooksie Way 5k race.
Patterson, flanked by executives from AT&T, told a room full of students from Hart Middle School in Rochester Hills that AT&T had made it possible for them to run or walk the Brooksie Way 5k race at no cost in exchange for their commitment to prepare themselves physically for the Oct. 2 race. All of the students who attended today’s kickoff were given passes to an Oakland County Parks waterpark.
“With childhood obesity a national epidemic, programs like this can make a real difference,” Patterson said. “I hope as many kids as possible take the challenge.”
The challenge is open to all Oakland County middle school students on a first-come first-served basis, limited to the first 300 students who register. Students are given free race registration, training shirts and training support. It builds on Patterson’s efforts to combat obesity that began in 2004 with the Count Your Steps Pedometer Walking Program for third and fourth graders.
The Challenge gives those in middle school the opportunity to train and experience an official 5k race. All registrants who finish the Brooksie Way 5k are eligible for prizes like bowling and waterpark passes. The 5k is run immediately before the Brooksie Way Half Marathon, a 13.1 mile race through Rochester, Rochester Hills and parts of the Paint Creek Trail and Clinton River Trail.
AT&T is sponsoring the challenge because of its ongoing commitment to the Michigan communities the company and its employees have served for more than a century.
“AT&T has called Michigan home for more than 130 years and we are proud to be a part of shaping our state’s bright future,” said Jim Murray, president of AT&T Michigan. “Without question, the health, well-being and education of our students are key parts of that future and why we are excited to join Brooks and Oakland County in this important and fun effort.”
Patterson encouraged students of all fitness levels to get involved in the race.
“The program is not just for star athletes. We want to encourage everyone to join in and get healthier by moving more,” Patterson said. “It is only in this way that we can reverse lower life expectancy among younger generations due to obesity.
You can register for the Challenge at CountYourSteps.org.
The Brooksie Way Half Marathon is Oakland County’s premier road race and takes place this year on Sunday, Oct. 2 at Oakland University. There is also a One Mile Fun Run on the grounds of Oakland University. You may walk or run any of the events. Proceeds from the race support local programs that promote healthy, active lifestyles through Brooksie Way MiniGrants. More than $57,000 has been given to support local programs in little more than one year. More information on the races can be found at TheBrooksieWay.com.