By Dr. Mark Thompson, Professor of Electrical Engineering
When people ask me if I’m running ‘The Bobby Crim Race’ this year, I naturally think they are asking, "are you running the 10 Mile race?" The question needs no qualification. To me, that distance, ten miles, IS the Bobby Crim Race…the other distances available are part of the “festival of races” and attract many thousands of people, are incredibly competitive and are wonderful events. But in my head, the Bobby Crim is a 10 mile race.
I have run the Crim every year I’ve worked at Kettering University. I joined the faculty in September 1988 … I came to town just a week or two after the Crim that year. So, August 1989 would have been my first race, and I haven’t missed one since. That makes this year my 23rd Bobby Crim race. My close colleague in the ECE Department and my close friend, Mohammad Torfeh, is my running partner. He got me started racing in the Crim.
I had never run a race before the Bobby Crim other than the three-legged variety at an elementary school picnic. We train together nearly every day of the year, and we run the race together each August. I think Mo has only missed one race in those years that I recall, the year he was on sabbatical leave in Germany. He came back home from that sabbatical with a German wife … I got a Crim race medal and a t-shirt …go figure?
In the earlier years, we used to be a bit more competitive. Now, we just like to finish! Mo and I typically have long discussions and laugh a lot to keep us distracted during the race, especially on those brutal Bradley Hills! We always meet so many Kettering alumni and students along the race course. They recognize us or see our Kettering logo shirts and it often leads to a mile or two of, “hey, what’s going on at Kettering these days,” sort of discussion. It’s a great publicity opportunity for Kettering and the city of Flint. It brings thousands of people into Flint and gives the community a sense of pride and an event to rally around.
It is an absolutely awesome experience as a participant, to turn the corner, exhausted, at 9.5 miles onto the bricks of Saginaw Street, and be rejuvenated by a shot of adrenaline brought on by the crowds of people cheering as you approach the finish line. Oh, and then there is the finish line ... and chute, … the crowds of competitors that have just finished, the popsicles and bananas… and for the last few years, the post-race Kettering party at the 501 Bar and Grille … need I say more?
The entire experience of the Bobby Crim race, from the National Anthem at the beginning, to a toast with my Kettering colleagues at the end, is all my favorite part of the event. Come on down to the 501 after the race this year and see for yourself.