FLINT (WJRT) - (08/24/16) - The Crim Festival of Races celebrates 40 years this week.
The Crim has always been all about Flint and Flint pride, but this year even more so. The city's water crisis and the race are especially connected.
"We see it as a health and wellness crisis we're going to have to deal with for years to come,” said Andy Younger, race director at the Crim Fitness Foundation.
The Crim Fitness Foundation took little time in taking action. With the help of the C.S. Mott Foundation, they expanded the community education model to reach kids in every Flint public school.
"Three mitigating factors to lead exposure are physical activity, nutrition and mindfulness, and those are actually the three things that we focus on,” Younger said.
Flint's water crisis is changing up the Crim races themselves, too. For the first time in Crim history, there won't be a big pot of prize money. Instead, that money goes toward waiving registration fees for about 2,000 Flint residents.
"Regardless of whether you can pay for it, we want you down here for the Crim and we want you celebrating, we want you focused on health and wellness,” Younger said.
During the races and at celebrations after, all water provided by the Crim is bottled. Younger says that's so everyone has peace of mind. General Motors is helping out too - bottles and cups will be recycled and turned into car parts.
“We're looking at over 8,500 gallons of water that gets distributed,” Younger said.
Founder Bobby Crim himself says he's been around long enough to know Flint is a tough and resilient community, even a water crisis won't get people down.
"We’re going to succeed, we're coming back, we're going to get over this. It's that kind of thing. So it'll be a special celebration this year,” Crim said.
The fortieth Crim Festival of Races kicks of Friday with the Michigan Mile. Saturday is the 10 mile run/walk.