By Jim Newell
It was a day of firsts Saturday as the inaugural Orion Township Fire Department Run with Fire 5K race/walk was the first event to traverse the new Paint Creek Trail extension in the Village of Lake Orion.
The fire department hosted the run and free kids run to promote Fire Prevention Month and Fire Safety/Awareness in October.
Proceeds from the race benefit the Orion Township Goodfellows, a group of firefighters within the fire department who provide food and gift baskets to area families in need of assistance during the holidays.
The race also marked the first official use of a portion of the Paint Creek Trail extension, paid for by the Downtown Development Authority.
The race started at Fire Station #1 on Anderson Street, took runners through Meeks Park, over the trail easement through the Lake Orion Lumber property, to Atwater Street and wound through the neighborhoods before ending back at the fire station.
Matt Shell, 34, won the race with a time of 23 minutes, 4 seconds (23:04). Mitchell Young, 15, of Lake Orion took 2nd with a time of 25:55, while Eric Kaminski finished in 3rd place at 26:44.
Taylor Little, a Lake Orion resident since 1998, was the women’s open winner, finishing 6th overall in the race at a time of 30:27.
Little liked that the course took runners over the new Paint Creek Trail extension through the village. “Yes, absolutely. I’m a total trails person. And I’m actually a big supporter of the firemen,” she said, adding she plans to race again next year.
Elizabeth Delano, 41 was the female master winner with a time of 32:45, good for 8th place overall. Michael Hart, 70, was the male master winner, 11th overall with a time of 34:48.
Firefighter Chris Hagan and wife Katie Hagan finished in 9th and 10th place, respectively, both at 33:51, just nine-tenths of a second apart. “I think he stuck his chest out at the finish line,” Katie said.
For more information or to contribute to the Orion Township Fire Department’s Goodfellows, visit their Facebook page or contact the fire department at Orion Township Hall, 248-391-0304.