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Backroads races return with park route

July 16, 2014 - The Clarkston State Bank Backroads Half Marathon and 10K returns for its second year with a new route.

The race was moved from downtown and north on Holcomb Road to Independence Oaks County Park this year due in part to safety concerns, as suggested by Oakland County Sheriff's Office, said organizer Deanna Hart.

It also establishes a partnership with Oakland County Parks.

"We've organized races in the park in the past. It's a beautiful venue," Hart said. "It has groomed trails, backroads, and hills – if there's a cold wind like last year, the trees will block it."

The Nov. 9 race is also partnering with the HealthPlus Brooksie Way Half Marathon this year for training.

About 450 runners are in the Brooksie training program, with about 20 signed up to train on Tuesdays in Independence Township.

"It's a nice mix of roads and trails, like the Brooksie Way," said Sue Barnes, training coordinator for Brooksie Way.

Start and finish lines will be at the Twin Chimneys pavilion in Independence Oaks, with a stage for live music and tent for refreshments.

"The race finishes with a downhill, which is nice," Hart said.

Last year's inaugural race was great, Barnes said.

"I'm excited to be a part of it," she said. "The hills last year were hard, but I like the challenge of a hilly course."

The race provides motivation to keep training through the fall, after the Brooksie Way on Sept. 28, which also has a new route this year, and the Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon and Half Marathon on Oct. 19.

A portion of the proceeds from the Back roads race go to Clarkston SCAMP and Clarkston Blessings in a Backpack.

Registration pickup will be on Nov. 8 at Clarkston State Bank in downtown Clarkston, with the half marathon starting at 9:30 a.m. and 10K at 9:35 a.m., Nov. 9.

Register at www.clarkstonbackroads Racers receive shirts, medals, and, for the first 500, a race bandana. Price increases on Aug. 1. Volunteers can register at

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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