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Letter to the Editor: Support Day and Time Change for Brooksie Way

"The rolling traffic blockages create great inconvenience to worshippers who are unable to leave their neighborhoods due to main street closings."

Dear Editor,

Thank you for your recent article informing us of the date change for the upcoming Brooksie Way Half Marathon 2012.

In recent years the Brooksie Way Half Marathon has been held on Sunday mornings as it is again this year on Sunday, Sept. 30. This causes great hardship to the thousands of residents in Rochester Hills who have historically
chosen to worship God on the Sabbath. We have expressed this concern in the past directly to event organizers in the same manner we have with organizers of various athletic programs that schedule games or practices on Sunday mornings. It is our expressed attempt to keep sacred our Sunday Sabbath which, in turn, by our communal prayer and worship calls us to respond to many wonderful charitable causes such as the Brooksie Way.

The rolling traffic blockages create great inconvenience to worshippers who are unable to leave their neighborhoods due to main street closings. As you can see from their website traffic instructions, the re-routing instructions are difficult to decipher even to the most ardent traveler: (http://www.thebrooksieway.com/Pages/race/traffic.aspx). Still in some cases, entire subdivision exits are blocked keeping traffic from entering or exiting for several hours.

For these reasons we are unable to support their Sunday morning efforts and request our community to support an effort to ask the organizers to move the event to a more suitable timeframe or day.


Sincerely,

Fr. Jerome A. Brzezinski, Pastor, St. John Fisher Parish, Auburn Hills

Send letters to the editor to editor Kristin Bull at kristin.bull@patch.com

al February 21, 2012 at 10:52 PM
I agree 100%! The marathon last year forced my family and I to be very late to an extremely important charitable event at our church. Even if you are not yourself a Sunday churchgoer, you still should respect that some of us are. Even those who are not churchgoers may have somewhere important to be. If it is so important for the marathon to be in Rochester Hills instead of Patterson's own hometown, why not move the whole thing onto OU's campus?
Amanda Kirksey February 21, 2012 at 11:41 PM
We used to live in Berkley where the 'Woodward Dream Cruise" took over our area for four whole days, so I can relate to the frustration. But we just planned ahead and gave ourselves extra time (or left earlier) to make it to our destinations. We live smack-dab in the middle of the Brooksie festivities and our subdivision is completely closed off during most (if not all) of the race. With that being said, I plan around it. The first couple years, we woke up a bit earlier, got the kids and ourselves dressed, left our house before the closing time, had an enjoyable breakfast out and then attended our church service. Yes, it took a bit of planning, but it really wasn't a big deal. The last few years, we have actually walked outside of our subdivision and cheered on my runner hubby as well as all the other runners and participants. What an awesome opportunity for the Rochester area residents to come together to celebrate life, health and each other!
Donna February 22, 2012 at 01:24 AM
Amanda - I couldn't agree more. We also live right in the middle of the festivities. I admit that it takes some extra planning, but we've never missed church because of it. I have no problem with such a great community event that happens ONCE each year.
al February 22, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Extra planning would be a great solution ... If we attended a Rochester parish. Our church is in Detroit so we already get up a little earlier every Sunday to get there at a decent time. And if either of you ladies has awoken a toddler three hours early from his slumber, you know how painful the rest of a long day is going to be. I am supportive of charitable events until they interfere with my ability to attend a different charitable event that is more important to me.
Amanda Kirksey February 22, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Al, I think we have lots in common. :). Our church is in Royal Oak and the first year, our son was seven months old and our daughter just turned two. So I most definitely can relate. I hope that you find a good solution that works for you and your family, and I hope that Brooksie's date change will be on a different date as your charitable event. Have a great night!
al February 22, 2012 at 03:33 AM
Thanks, Amanda! Fortunately the events do not conflict this year, but I still think it is prudent to discuss with members of the community details of such events instead of just informing them of when their subdivision will be taken over. I can relate to your Dream Cruise pain. We used to live in Bloomfield and always planned our vacation that week so we'd miss it! Best to you and your family.
Mary Howarth February 22, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Our church, Abiding Presence on Walton Blvd., have decided that if we can't fight them ... we can make the Brooksie into a Fellowship opportunity. We have cancelled the 2 Sunday morning services for the past two years and instead had a supper and Saturday evening service. On Sunday morning we gather at the corner of Old Perch and Walton and cheer on the runners. Now instead of harboring unkind thoughts toward the Brooksie, we enjoy our opportunity to gather together in fellowship and worship on Saturday... and wevdon't try to get out of the subdivision on anything but our bikes on Sunday morning.
Patricia February 22, 2012 at 12:19 PM
For purpose of discussion, my neighbors and I have all experienced different sides- from being blocked and not able to get where you need or want to on a weekend after working all week, to the queries as to why the race is Rochester every year when the the man it honors never lived here and most had (have ) no idea even who he was - As a residents, part of our taxes flows to Oakland County-so why isn't the race rotated for the other cities to pick up some of the tab or experience an uptick in sales/marketing/free publicity-just as Rochester? (and some the same inconvenience) If not, neighbors have said why don't they just use the trails? I have no answers. But maybe, just once, this race that honors Brooks Patterson's son, should be where he lived, in Lake Orion or in Clarkston, where people knew him. Let other communities both benefit and face the same challenges on a beautiful Sunday morning in September as Rochester has now for several years now. My neighbors have said as taxpayers and residents they never had a choice in this- it was just announced that Rochester will have the race. And yes, there is both money and politics involved. People view it as another weekend in Rochester "tied up"-on the other hand, there is the publicity and money both earned and spent. We were married at St. John Fisher, and you can forget about attending services the Sunday of the race. It is impossible to drive or get to that area.
Cheryl Lendzion February 22, 2012 at 12:23 PM
This great even is for one morning a year! There are other mass times that are available at every church and taking a Sunday and getting involved in the community is a special event.
patricia ozybko February 22, 2012 at 12:35 PM
I agree with all that Fr. Jerry has written in his letter.
Barbara Nelson February 22, 2012 at 01:55 PM
If you are unable to get to your church on Sunday, come and join us for our supper and service on Saturday evening at Abiding Presence Lutheran Church (as Mary mentions above). We are open to the community.
Amanda Kirksey February 22, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Mary, I LOVE your perspective!
Amy Whipple February 22, 2012 at 09:55 PM
I would love for the entire Rochester/Rochester Hills community to embrace this one-day event. I was one of the participants last year who joined the pre-training "Couch to 5K" program in April. I ran my first 5K, to my disbelief, and was talked into signing up for the 1/2 marathon by Sue Barnes one of the primary people behind the event. A group of women became my running partners (5AM!) even though we were doubters that we could accomplish this huge feat. I was so impressed with the training program that truly transformed "couch dwellers" to runners. Sue Barnes and all of her volunteers truly inspired so many people to be active and were extraordinary cheerleaders every step of the journey. The training for this program took place while my family was in the midst of facing two young family members battling cancer. The support I gained from my new running friends in our group carried me during this difficult time in my life. The women in my neighborhood became life-long friends as a result of the time we spent supporting one another in our running goals and our life's issues. I understand the challenges that the run presents to Sunday morning church attendees...but, there is a lot of faith and prayer that goes into running such an extraordinary distance. I would love for all churches along the route to embrace this event. It is a beautiful way to experience God's creations on foot. The Brooksie brings people to our amazing community and it brings people together.
al February 22, 2012 at 10:44 PM
So why can't we embrace it on a Saturday?
Patricia February 22, 2012 at 10:52 PM
We have to respect that there are people in the community that would like to attend their own Church on Sunday-and they should be able to without adding an extra hour(s) to their schedules on what are already filled days. -Weekends are precious to everyone-faith and prayer is where people want to find it, and some prefer to find it in Sunday service in the pews at St. John Fisher. Others find it with a beautiful quiet morning for a walk or just enjoying nature- Maybe we just need to seriously look at other routes so the same areas are not effected every year. That would be fair and open-minded.
Ed Brooks February 23, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Two of the suggestions regarding solutions to the problems caused by having the race on a Sunday morning are to move it to a different community and have it on a Saturday. Moving it to a different city just transfers the problem. But I guess that is OK as long as it doesn't affect us anymore. As far as having the race on a Saturday, can you imagine the hue and cry from the businss community if portions of the roads affected were closed on a Saturday morning? Sunday is the least intrusive day. Some roads are only closed for a couple hours and all are back open by noon. As a participant in the race and a group leader in the Brooksie Way Training Program, I can tell you that one fo the big attractions for this race is the route. It is one of the more challenging 1/2 marathons in the state due to the elevation changes and mix of trail, city and rural areas through which we run. A race entirely on the OU campus would be now where near as popular, but maybe in come peoples minds that would be a good thing. People come from all over our state and from other areas of the country just to run The Brooksie. It would be interesting to know what kind of economic impact this event has our our local area. A few hours of disruption on a Sunday morning is a small price to pay for the benefits that this great event provides
al February 23, 2012 at 09:43 PM
It is very interesting to me that you value the cry of businesses being affected by road closures but not that of the citizens of the community who are prevented from going about their usual Sunday business whether it be religious or not. Upon some quick research I see that many of the nearby businesses have the same hours Sunday and Saturday, so which ones would protest is up for debate. No one here is arguing that the run is not beneficial, we all know it is a good cause. It is also pointless to say that it is "just one day" because all of our time is precious. That being said, it is unfair to virtually imprison people in their subdivisions even if it is "just a few hours," without their consent. Also, think of the people you are alienating from this event because Sunday morning is already occupied by a personally more important practice. I don't know if you are old enough to remember but Sunday used to be exclusively a day for worship and family time. It used to be that NO businesses were open because business owners were at church or home with their families. I recognize that times change, many have retreated from that practice, but those of us to whom it is still important deserve consideration. The current route is entirely inconsiderate and needs to be rethought.
Patricia February 24, 2012 at 12:29 AM
There are lots of other times to have a running event-perhaps it would be better suited on 4th of July or Labor Day--thats only one morning a year and festivities are already under way--if not, maybe a winter run on Thanksgiving morning? Kids are home from school then and relatives come in... That might be good and this way it does not interfere with Church services and getting in an out of your area so much. Those that run then would not have to miss their Sunday services-(for those that do attend). This way everyone could take part in this special community event that we pay for and businesses would not be so impacted as well. Could be a win win situation. Also, there is great running in Clarkston and Lake Orion that is well suited for this type of marathon. Unfortunate, not all churches have services late in the day and I agree, no one should be inconvenienced for services--even Christmas Parades are later in the day.

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