Athletes and spectators flood downtown Flint for Crim Races

Published: Aug. 25, 2018 at 12:01 AM EDT
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(08/24/2018) - Athletes hit the Bricks tonight for the Lois Craig Invitational for Special Olymics.

The fund raiser attracted more than 100 participants this year.

The event, was just one of many Friday evening ahead of Saturday's 10-mile Race.

"It motivates me, it helps me run faster," said 38-year old runner

John Powers when asked how the cheering crowds impacted his race.

Powers has taken part in the Lois Craig Invitational for the past nine years. He's also helped raise a lot of money for Special Olympics.

"It helps raise awareness about special athletes like us that don't get the publicity everybody else gets," Powers explained.

The Crim actually got its start as a fund raiser for Special Olympics, but the Lois Craig Invitational race is about so much more.

"It shows what they can do versus what they cannot do," said Pat Peters, the Director of Special Olympics Area 13. "They want to do exactly what anybody else wants to do and that's run and compete."

And that's exactly what Friday nights during the Crim are all about.

The crowds cheered as the first man to complete the Michigan Mile through the U of M Flint Campus crossed the finish line.

Waiting for him at the other end? A shiny gold and Blue medal of course.

Kristin Walker-Bey, who came all the way from Virginia Beach to run in the CRIM, is ringing the bell because she just ran the course in 9:22 , instead of her usual 11 minutes.

We asked her how she managed to shave so much time off:

"Some days you have good days, some days are bad days," she said.

Today was obviously a very good day.

Kenyan distance runner Kiprop Mutai hopes Saturday will be a very good day for him, when he runs his first Crim 10-miler:

"I understand that it's very competitive," he said, "I will do my best."

The freshly painted start line is where the runners will pin on their bibs and lace up their shoes just before 8 for the 10 -mile race during the 42nd annual Crim Festival of Races on Saturday.