Motivational Mile (Run For The Health Of It) Event History

The Motivational Mile is a popular run in the Run For The Health Of It running events held in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Every year, crowds gather to take part in this short but seriously fun run – but how did it start? 

Motivational Mile (Run For The Health Of It) Event History

Here, we are going to be taking a look at the event history of Borgess Run  For The Health Of It’s Motivational Mile. This way, you can learn more about this fun run and why it’s so popular with runners all over Michigan. 

So, let’s dive right in! 

The Early Beginnings 

Kalamazoo, Michigan, is well known for its many marathons and running events and one the most popular is the Motivational Mile, organized by Run For The Health Of It.

It’s only a mile long and non-competitive and yet runners of all ages love to join in and participate in. 

It’s a part of the Borgess Run For The Health Of It – a series of running events that stretches over a weekend each year. 

It all started way back in 1979 when Development Director John Daley-Borgess thought up the idea of a yearly weekend of marathons and races to help promote running as a fun and exciting form of exercise.

Borgess hoped that it would help promote health in the Kalamazoo area and as a result, lower the effects of illnesses and help others rehabilitate back into society after recovering. 

The next year, the first Borgess Run For The Health Of It run begins! In total, 800 runners participated and from there the event only grew in popularity.

By 1981, the run brought more than 2,000 participants to downtown Kalamazoo. The event’s popularity led to more runs being included so more people could find participation more accessible. 

As a result, the 5k walk and 15k run were both added in 1986, attracting more than 6,000 participants the very next year. There was also another important addition to the courses and runs during this time – the Medical Run. 

The Medical Run

The Medical Run was one of the earlier additions to Borgess Run For The Health Of It and for good reason. 

The board of the event realized that most of their courses and events were far too long and tiring for children and teenagers to participate safely in.

Not only that but some of the shortest courses were still too long for some amateur runners to complete – and this could turn off many potential participants to join in. 

The whole point of Run For The Health Of It was to promote healthy running as a form of exercise. To send the message that every single step is worth it, the Medical Run was created and added to the lineup of events. 

Motivational Mile (Run For The Health Of It) Event History (1)

The Medical Run was added as a super short fun run that was short enough for children and teenagers to safely run so even they could join in the fun.

Plus, many people signed up for an easy fun run that required minimal training and effort so even those with the inability to properly dedicate themselves to training for a full marathon could still partake in the fun. 

As a result, more people signed up for the Medical Mile and grew the numbers of participants in the event – helping improve healthy living in Kalamazoo. 

What’s In A Name? 

In 2004, the Medical Mile went under a name change and became the Motivational Mile! 

The reason for the name change was never officially explained but it’s pretty easy to see why. ‘Medical’ mile did not really suit the whole point of the run.

Although it did want to promote medical fitness and health, it was added specifically to motivate young runners and those who could not dedicate to the full training needed for the other running events of the weekend. 

As a result, the Medical Mile became the Motivational Mile and it remains to this day. 

Final Thoughts

The Motivational Mile is just one part of a larger event that has helped drive healthy living and frequent exercise in Kalamazoo for decades.

Although it was a later addition to the lineup of courses, it proved to be one of the most important as it is usually the first step towards running that many runners take. 

It’s one of the most accessible runs as it’s short length makes it suitable for runners of all ages – plus it’s noncompetitive so many join in just for the fun of it and to keep their bodies fit.

The fun and excitement is a great way to motivate new runners and inspire a healthier lifestyle in its participants, which is why the Motivational Mile remains to be one of the most popular events of the Run For The Health Of It weekend of events! 

Richard Harris