This story was reported and written by John McKay.
When runners in the sixth annual Brooksie Way half marathon charge onto the 13.1-mile course on Sunday, they will help honor Brooks Stuart Patterson, the late son of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.
Brooks Stuart Patterson died after an automobile accident in 2007 and while the festival of races takes its name from the Oakland County Executive's son, there is more to the story behind the naming of the popular event.
"My son-in-law Gary (Werner), he gave the eulogy at my son's funeral," speaking to about 2,000 people inside the church where services were held, L. Brooks Patterson said during a sponsor reception on Wednesday at Rochester's Royal Park Hotel. "He said, 'If you're going to go skiing, go for the powder snow, the deep snow. If you're going to go kayaking, go for the whitecaps. If you're going to go mountain-climbing, go for the shear, go for the shear wall.' And then he said, 'Do things the Brooksie Way.'"
The races start at 8 a.m. Sunday, with a half marathon, 10k and 5k, starting on the grounds of the Meadow Brook Music Festival at Oakland University in Rochester Hills. More than 6,000 runners are expected to participate.
L. Brooks Patterson said events such as the Brooksie Way help encourage a healthy and fit Oakland County.
"A fit Oakland County is a healthy Oakland County," he said. "A healthy Oakland County is one of the leading factors in determining quality of life."
This year, the races will feature color-coded starting positions, which place runners and walkers according to their pace times.
Also this year, the Fifth Third Bank Victory Run for Athletes with Disabilities takes place at 3 p.m. Saturday with no cost or pre-registration to participate.
Runners in Sunday's events can pick up their race packets and bibs from 3-8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday at the Fitness Expo at the Oakland University Student Recreation Center.