Flint, MI—On Saturday, August 27th, in the early hours of the morning, the alleyways and side streets of downtown Flint filled with runners, walkers and handcyclists making their way to the starting line for the 45th annual HAP Crim Festival of Races.
The energy in the air was contagious as it captured the guests and competitors with a sense of urgency and excitement.
For Douglas Edmonson, the morning trek to the starting line was all too familiar. Edmonson, 35, has been competing in the 10-mile wheel Crim for 12 years. Accompanying him to the starting line was his grandfather Bernie Mieslike who has helped him into his handcycle and gear every year.
“My first time was a learning curve,” Edmonson said. ”It’s a lot of shoulders. Some of these cyclists go thousands of miles a year. I am just a regular dude having fun. I’m gonna stop along the way and have a beer.”
Edmonson crossed the finish line with a time of 56:03. Edmonson was one of thousands who happily completed the Crim on Saturday for their first, twelfth or thirtieth time.
For many Crim attendants, the race means beating a personal record from the past or meeting an entirely new goal. Sydney Devore, a returning Crim race participant, was the first woman to cross the finish line in 2021. Devore was curious to see if she could not only place first again, but if she could beat her time from last year.
Devore, 30, originally from Ferndale, completed the Crim in 55:19 and was the first woman to cross the finish line.
“I ran it last year for the first time,” Devore said. “I won last year and I had to defend that title. This year was much better. I think this is a race that really benefits knowing the course because it is so hilly. Last year I panicked when the hills kept coming because I wasn’t prepared.”
Devore smiled as she looked out across the bricks on Saginaw Street, glowing and euphoric, she laughed, “I really can’t believe I just did that. The whole time I kept thinking, is this really happening? I am still in shock!”
Her advice to young runners with the dream of winning big races, “Trust the development, trust the process. You can’t get anywhere overnight. You’re going to have ups and downs, highs and lows. You have to trust that the next high is still coming. Your best is still coming.”
Not long before Devore, Daniel Soto finished the race in 48:40, bringing him into first place overall. Soto ran alongside teammates with a plan in place.
“The plan today was to run 4:50s, just kind of see how we felt,”Soto said. And then the last couple of miles try and ratchet it down a little bit.”
Soto, originally from Des Moines, Iowa, felt that running the Crim was a personal initiation of sorts after recently moving to Rochester Hills.
“This is my first Crim,” Soto said. “I feel like this is my inauguration into being a true Michigander. Everyone I talk to when I tell them I am a runner, they ask, ‘Have you run the Crim?’ I’ll finally be able to answer that question with a yes, which feels good.”
Check out more photos from the races below.