Escape to Belle Isle

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Runners and walkers beat the heat while raising funds for the Ronald McDonald House

On a sizzling hot morning, 800 participants gathered on Belle Isle July 18 for the 7th annual Escape to Belle Isle — Spirit of Detroit Challenge, a 5K and 10K race/walk.

The course was positioned next to the Belle Isle casino, facing west with a view of Detroit’s Renaissance Center and Ambassador Bridge. Runners stepped on a timing mat under a blue arch at the race’s start and made the turn-off for the 5K or 10K at Scott Fountain, whose flowing water was a refreshing scene.

Board member and race sponsor Jenna Greenman served as master of ceremony and called out runners’ numbers or names as they passed the finish line.

The male and female first-place winners in the 5K race were Brandon Osipov (00.19.45.0) and Allison Lucas (00.21.15.5) and the male and female first-place winners in the 10K race were Ryan Johns (00.34.35.5) and Erin Webster (00.37.03.0). The race included a 400-yard Kids Fun Run, which drew about 24 youth.

The event featured music, face painting, a sketch artist and refreshments. Adult registrants received a dry-fit tech shirt and custom medal; kids received a T-shirt, medal, and trophy depicting winged shoes.

Jenna and Milt Greenman of West Bloomfield, both attorneys who run together as a couple, began the race as a grassroots effort. They saw a void in summer runs in the city of Detroit and decided to change that. The couple is dedicated to raising funds for the Hearts, Hands and Home campaign to benefit expanded services at the new House in Midtown.

Proceeds of approximately $10,000 will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House of Detroit. The race was sponsored by Kitch Attorneys & Counselors, Absopure, Running Fit, and The Thurswell Law Firm, PLLC.

The annual fundraiser was originally launched by Jenna and Milt Greenman of West Bloomfield, a local husband and wife team, who are both attorneys and who enjoy running and racing.

An alumnus of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, Milt specializes in medical malpractice and complex litigation. Jenna, an alumnus from Cooley Law School, specializes in medical malpractice defense litigation. Both are active trial attorneys who practice the same specialty, but on opposite sides, and often are referred to as the James Carville and Mary Matalin of the Detroit legal community. 

Through their work on medical malpractice cases, the Greenmans became aware of how important it was for families to have a place for parents to stay close to their hospitalized children.

“We couldn’t have been happier with the turnout on a beautiful Saturday summer morning in the heart of Detroit,” Jenna said. “Our racers are truly special to us, and we appreciate every single one who shows up and participates in our race. To have runners come up to me while I am emceeing at the finish line and tell me how much they love the race and all that we do is so rewarding.”

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