Michigan Mile, Mileage Club inspire area youngsters to run

Published: May 16, 2011

LANSING, Mich. - Deniz Kirca, 9, of Okemos, never liked running much - now he's excited about his first Kohl's Michigan Mile on June 4 and has a rigorous training schedule planned for the rest of the summer.

Logan Kroczaleski, 12, of Grand Ledge, discovered a love of running through the Feelin' Good Mileage Club facilitated by Sparrow. He also tried the Michigan Mile, enjoyed it, and now regularly runs 5k races.

Deniz and Logan are two of the success stories that have come out of Sparrow's youth wellness programs. Thousands of children like them will participate in this year's Kohl's Michigan Mile and Kidsprint presented by Sparrow at Cooley Law School Stadium.

The fun and non-competitive event includes a one-mile course for children 13 and younger and a shorter course (the Kidsprint) inside the stadium for those 6 and under.

Early registration is $7 until May 20. The cost is $10 until the day of the event. Those interested may register at sparrow.org/michiganmile.

The event is the capstone of the Sparrow- and Kohl's-sponsored Feelin' Good Mileage Club, which rewards elementary school students for walking and running at school. More than 15,000 K-5 students participated in the program this year.

Deniz and Logan had tried other sports but nothing drew them in like the running inspired by the Feelin' Good Mileage Club. Deniz says he discovered staying fit helps more than just your physical well-being.

"It makes you feel positive afterwards," he says.