ISHPEMING - With fall colors near their peak, the first Harvest Half Marathon and Family Festival on Saturday is sure to be colorful.
The event is being put on by Marquette County's Big Brothers Big Sisters in conjunction with Bell Hospital. It is the only half marathon held in the Ishpeming-Negaunee area.
"We were looking at different ways to raise funds to get people aware of Big Brothers Big Sisters," said Jayne Letts, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Marquette and Alger counties. "We know that running is very popular so we thought a half marathon would be a good idea."
Along with a half marathon, there is also a 5K, kids fun run for children 12 years old and younger and a festival at Bell Hospital starting at noon.
The half marathon starts at Lake Bancroft and takes runners through the city of Ishpeming to Negaunee and then back to Ishpeming on the Iron Ore Heritage Trail, ending at Bell Hospital.
"It's a great course and I think that people will really enjoy it," Letts said.
The 5K will take runners only through the city of Ishpeming and the kids fun run will be held at Bell Hospital along its fitness trail.
"With Bell being in Ishpeming and Big Brothers Big Sisters being in Negaunee, we thought it would be neat to plan a route to combine both communities," said Kori Tassava, assistant director of the Bell Foundation.
According to Tassava, the planning for the event started last winter.
"There's a lot of races in the summer and it kind of tapers off in the fall," Tassava said. "So with all the beautiful colors in the fall, we thought this would be a perfect time of the year to do a race."
Starting at noon, there will be a runners expo and family festival at Bell Hospital. The festival is not just for runners but for the community to enjoy as well, Tassava said. The festival will include lunch vendors, live entertainment, kids games and activities and tours of emergency vehicles.
"It's going to be a really good day I think," Tassava said. "We're expecting about 100 runners."
As part of the registration fee for runners, they will have lunch provided to them, as well as access to massage therapists. All proceeds will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters and Bell Hospital's Strength from Within Program.
Registration for the half marathon ends Wednesday and the fee is $75. The 5K registration fee is $30 and can be done the day of the race, as well as the kids fun run, which has a registration fee of $10.
Packet pick up is Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Bell Hospital cafeteria, along with a $8 spaghetti dinner.
For more information or to register, visit www.harvesthalf2012.kintera.org
Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-486-4401.