West Bloomfield residents Michael Bellet and Mark Grant were ready to run
in their hometown half-marathon, but Mother Nature had other ideas.
STEVE STEIN STAFF WRITER
veryone was looking forward to last
Sunday's West Bloomfield Half-
police to call off the half-marathon at noon,
just 45 minutes before the scheduled start.
The 13.1-mile winding and hilly half-
marathon course is treacherous enough
Race organizers were predicting one of on a dry day, let alone covered with snow.
the largest turnouts ever for the 19th an-
"We had a fatal accident on Farming-
nual unofficial ninning, season opener, the ton Road, as well as numerous other ac-
more than 200 volunteers were ready to cidents that morning," West Bloomfield
do their jobs and Michael Bellet and Mark Police Sergeant Mike Patton pointed out.
Grant were excited about once again com-
"The decision to cancel the race was not
peting in their hometown.
made lightly because we know how much
Bellet and Grant have run in the half- work goes into it and how much the run-
marathon, which is co-sponsored by West ners look forward to it."
Bloomfield Parks and Recreation and Hen-
Bellet and Grant shared the sergeant's
ry Ford Medical Center-West Bloomfield, sentiments.
since the late 1980s.
"It's disappointing for us because we
Unfortunately, nobody passed the ex- were ready to go. We've run in this kind
citement along to the weatherman or of weather and we know the course very
Mother Nature or whoever controls the well. But I can understand why the race
spring climate in Michigan.
was called off," said Bellet, 44, an account
A freak snowstorm that turned roads manager for Motorola.
into skating rinks caused West Bloomfield
Grant also is 44 and an attorney. The
course passes right in front of his home
and just a house or two away from Bellet's.
Bellet and Grant are friends, neighbors
and training partners who run distance
races and compete in triathlons together.
A triathlon combines swimming, biking
The two men have been training to-
gether for 10 years. Their wives (Joanne
Bellet and Susan Grant) brought them to-
"We were ready to go."
gether after a chance meeting at the health
club at the Maple-Drake Jewish Commu-
"I know there's more incentive for me
to get up at 5:15 in the morning when I
know Mark is probably out there waiting
for me," Bellet said.
"It's not quite the same when we don't
compete together," Grant said. "It's amaz-
ing how close together we usually finish,
especially when we run."
In addition to being the same age and
having the same passion for running and
triathlons, both Bellet and Grant have two
children. Bellet has a daughter Ashley, 12,
and a son Jordan, 8. Grant has a son
Adam, 13, and a daughter Traci, 7.
Mark Grant and Michael Bellet.
PHOTOS BY BILL GEMMELL
Orchard Lake Road wasn't safe for cars or runners.
Ashley will celebrate her bat mitzvah
at Beth Abraham Hillel Moses the same
weekend as a favorite race on her father's
schedule, the Crim in Flint. Needless to
say, her dad will be missing the Crim this
This was the second time in half-
marathon history that the race was post-
poned. Another snowstorm in 1983
delayed the event for one week.
More than 450 runners had preregis-
tered for last Sunday's half-marathon and
another 300 were expected to sign up on
race day with favorable weather.
The half-marathon and a kids run,
which was scheduled to begin at 11:30
a.m., both will be held Sunday, April 23.
A 5K run/walk, which started at 10:30 am.
Sunday, went off as planned despite thun-
der and the blinding snowstorm.
Some 183 runners completed the 5K af-
ter 257 had preregistered. In 1994, the
race had over 400 competitors.
Here are some finishers in the 5K
Males under age 17: 2. Dan Spokojny,
12, Bloomfield Hills. 24:20.
Females under age 17: 5. Leah Spoko-
jny, 9, Bloomfield Hills, 36:22.
Males ages 40-49: 3. Joel Kashdan, 46,
West Bloomfield, 22:48; 8. Tony Spokojny,
44, Bloomfield Hills, 24:40.
Females ages 40-49: 8. Jill Spokojny,
40, Bloomfield Hills, 36:22.
Males ages 60-69: 1. Robert Littky, 60,
Registration for the rescheduled
kids run and the half-marathon will
be held 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. April
23 in the West Bloomfield High
School gym. The kids run will begin
at 11:30 a.m. on the high school
track and the half-marathon will
start at 12:45 p.m. in front of the
school. Fees are $10 for the kids
run and $20 for the half-marathon.