Hundreds of racers hit the streets Saturday morning in Huntington Woods to participate in the inaugural 1K and 5K Run/Walk BOOM!!! event to raise funds for the city's Fourth of July fireworks display, beating organizers' expectations.
Race entry fees and donations, along with proceeds from the Huntington Woods Men's Club fireworks raffle, will cover most of the $13,500 price tag for the fireworks held each year over .
Organizers could not say exactly how many people particpated Saturday due to the large number of race-day signups, but Run/Walk BOOM!!! committee member Howard Bosworth said the number was in the hundreds, which was better than expected.
Huntington Woods Men's Club member Alex Cooper echoed that sentiment.
"I think everybody's very pleased with the turnout for a first-time event," he said. "We've had a lot of participation from outside the community as well, which is nice."
One of those particpants was Russell Vail of White Lake, the defending USA Track & Field state champion in the 1500-meter indoor and outdoor events in the 70-74 age group.
"I drive all over the place (to race)," said Vail, who stumbled upon Run/Walk BOOM!!! when he showed up to train Saturday morning with the Pegasus Walkers Athletic Club on the track. "I said to myself, 'I might was well jump in.' It was a nice race and I donated for a good cause."
A number of local community leaders also turned out Run/Walk BOOM!!!, including Oakland County Commissioner Helaine Zack, Huntington Woods City Manager Alex Allie, City Commissioners Mary White and Jules Olsman, and Principal Paul Yowchuang.
The Huntington Woods Men's Club was on hand selling fireworks raffle tickets.
"Sales are going really well. People are being really supportive," Men's Club member Tom Kelly said. "We're well on our way to our goal. The majority of our success comes during the last week push, which we're in now."
He said residents still have time to send in the raffle tickets that were distributed to doorsteps throughout Huntington Woods and urged them to do so.
Run/Walk BOOM!!! committee member Howard Bosworth said he expects the event will be held again next year.
"It's been a positive reflection on the community and it reinforces why we're here," he said.