It’s Not Just a Race: The HAP Crim Festival of Races is Flint’s Most Exciting Weekend of the Year
Flint’s mood was festive as its residents lined the race course. Cheering college students set up aid stations and excitedly offered water to runners. One neighborhood handed out jello shots. And one was having a full-on tailgate party.
Not just a race
“It’s not just a race,” says Chip Amoe, Henry Ford Health System’s director of sustainability. Amoe will be running in the upcoming HAP Crim Festival of Races. During his last 10-mile jaunt through Flint, he says, “I was impressed by how much of a community event it was. I like the support, everybody that came out for the race. It was neat to see all the different aspects of the city embracing it in a different way.”
This year’s festival will take place Friday and Saturday, August 24 and 25. The Michigan Mile Race Series will be Friday evening. And the 10-mile, five-mile, five-kilometer and one-mile races are Saturday morning. But, as Amoe says, it’s not just a race. It’s a celebration of the community, complete with music, dancing, food and fun kids’ activities all day Saturday.
Getting the community together for fitness dovetails with Amoe’s personal and professional mission. In his role at HFHS, he works to reduce HFHS’s environmental footprint and improve public health.
That means, says Amoe, “everything from recycling to water to reducing the chemicals we're disposing of. It means reducing the hazardous chemicals we have in the health system that can cause health problems, bringing in healthier, locally sourced foods so that they don't have as big an impact on the environment. It means reducing CO2 and the waste we're putting into landfills. And it means creating more walkable communities.”
Amoe has served as assistant director of government affairs for HFHS, legislative counsel for the American Medical Association and assistant director of federal affairs for the American Society of Anesthesiologists. In this and his previous roles, he takes a “health in all policies” approach.
“Twenty percent of your health is determined by your health care. The other 80 percent is determined by your environment and the choices you make,” says Amoe. “That means that whenever we're looking at anything, whether at the state level, whenever we're building a road or implementing a new initiative, that we should do it with an eye towards health. Whenever we buy something, we should look at the impact of it, where it comes from, how to dispose of it. Every decision, we should look at the long-term costs. And the long-term costs include the impact on our health.”
Part of the reason Amoe likes participating in the Crim is to support the Crim Fitness Foundation.
The Crim Foundation’s mission includes advancing the national agenda for improving health in our communities. In addition to organizing the annual festival of races, the foundation works year-round to improve the quality of the life and the environment in the area. It provides mindfulness, physical activity and nutrition education to more than 10,000 youth in the Flint area. It has created CrimFit Adult Training Programs to help adults overcome barriers to fitness. And it works to improve parks, trails and streets so Flint residents can walk, ride their bikes and enjoy the outdoors.
“Their commitment to that city has been pretty cool,” says Amoe. “If we're going to create healthier communities, we have to create the spaces where people can connect with others and create a sense of community. That's what I'm trying to do through our office of sustainability, not just create sustainability in the health system, but also create a more sustainable active community. For the city of Flint, I think this race really shows, especially after what they've gone through there, the importance of having infrastructure that supports public health.”
Weekend warriors welcome
Amoe says he started running because “I needed to get in shape and I had too many sports injuries from being a weekend warrior playing softball and flag football. I decided I needed to do mono-directional sports. Nothing side to side. No sharp movements.”
He encourages all of us to get out and participate.
“If I can do this race with having had an Achilles tendon surgery and a plate in my ankle and problems with my back over the years, anyone can train to be an athlete. You don't have to be the best at it, but get out there and have fun. Do something a little out of your comfort zone. Part of the fun is giving yourself a new challenge and trying to meet it.”
Whether you walk or run a mile, 5K, 5 miles or ten, come on out and join Chip Amoe at the HAP Crim Festival of Races. Click here to register.
HAP members: don’t forget you have a discount to register! Log in to your hap.org account and select “Member Events” in the “My Health and Wellness” tab to get the discount code. We'll see you on the bricks on Aug. 25.