SAULT STE. MARIE -- The annual Billy Mills Fun Run & Walk has been changed from July to August this year.
The 13th annual event begins on the morning of Saturday, Aug. 2, with the youth one-mile and tot run, starting in front of the Chi Mukwa Community Recreation Center. The one-mile youth run is open to ages 6-through-12, while the 50-yard tot run is designated for ages 5-and-under.
Each person participating in the one-mile youth run will get a free entry into a bike raffle, sponsored by Arfstrom's Pharmacy and Pro Sports. The annual 5K and 10K run and walk is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. The race includes a flat and winding 5K run/walk course throughout the reservation housing complex, while the 10K will continue beyond Shunk Road. Free t-shirts will be available for the first 200 registrants. Awards will be presented to the top male/female in the 5K and 10K runs. Awards for the one-mile youth run will be handed out to the top three finishers overall in each age division. Entry fees for the 5K run/walk and the 10K run are $10 before July 18 and $15 thereafter. Registration for the one-mile and tot run is $2.
This year's race logo was created to emphasize Billy Mills' American victory and tribal influence. A nature scene creates a backdrop for the logo, and a crane, which symbolizes leadership and direction, flies within this scene. A long extended path leads Mills to his victory, while the American flag waves inspiration. The wooden sticks, which form a pentagonal border, cross and grasp together by rope, while feathers are hung from either side emphasizing Mills' Native American heritage. A banner highlights the annual race title "Billy Mills Fun Run."
Mills won the gold medal at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, in a stunning come-from-behind victory in the 10,000 meter run. Mills became the first, and is still the only American ever to win the event. Since then, he has been elected to four sports halls of fame. Today, along with being a community leader, Mills also serves as the spokesperson for Running Strong for American Indian Youth. Together, they have both strived to build the strength of individuals and communities through recreation.
The recruiting of participants for this year's race is in full swing and will culminate with a Fourth of July parade float honoring Mills and this year's race logo. A race poster contest is also slated for area youth to begin in mid July. For more information on registering for the Billy Mills 5K/10K Fun Run & Walk, tot run, or one-mile youth run, call Andrea Walsh at 635-7465. The early registration deadline is July 18, however registrations will be accepted after July 18 and late registration will be available the day of the race from 7 to 7:30 a.m. Entry forms are available at the Chi Mukwa Community Recreation Center or register online at www.active.com. Race volunteers are also still needed, and anyone who is interested in volunteering can call 635-7465.