The Saline Merry Mile Returns to Michigan Avenue Before the Holiday Parade Saturday


The Saline Merry Mile returns to Michigan Avenue this Saturday.

The one-mile run, which benefits the Friends of Saline Cross Country, takes place at 5 p.m., before the annual holiday parade. There is also a virtual run for those not able to participate in the downtown Saline event. (Sign up HERE.)

The first event in 2019 featured runners in Christmas sweaters and Santa Claus caps.

Organizer Derek Stern is with the Friends of Saline Cross Country, which supports the Saline Schools cross country programs. They're bringing the event back for several reasons. 

"We brought it back based on the demand from previous years," Stern said. 

In addition, he said, the race will honor the late cross country coach Mike Smith, who died June 25.

"We are honoring him this year with our race shirt, designed by Mike’s wife (Mary), with the slogan 'Merry Miles in Mike’s Memory.' Special attention should also be given to the hat hanging with the lights that says 'Coach Smith'" Stern said. "We always knew to look for his hat at meets."

Smith was a key organizer of the inaugural event in 2019. The fundraising from the event helped the Friends of Saline Cross Country fully fund the Mike Smith Scholarship awarded each year to members of the Saline High School cross country program.

The run is open to everyone - especially newcomers, Stern said.

"One of our goals of the race, especially a short race like the mile, is to encourage everyone to come out and experience the joy of running," Stern said.

The cost to run in the live race is $30. The cost for the virtual run is $25. To encourage families to run together, children 10 and under can run for free if they're running with a paid adult.

"We hope that this allows our younger runners to experience the joy of running down Michigan Avenue with people cheering them on – it’s truly exhilarating," Stern said.

The Merry Mile will begin at Michigan Avenue and Ann Arbor Street. Runners will head east and turn around just before Maple Road. The finish line is west of the four corners -giving the race a downhill start and downhill finish.

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