HURLEY - More than 200 people came to run, walk or stroll the ninth annual Brian Nasi Memorial Heart Run/Walk in Hurley on Saturday.
The event was held at the Hurley K-12 School. Many red balloons were purchased in memory of others and were released in the sky prior to the starting of the race. There was also face painting and a clown.
Ginger Nasi's husband, Brian, passed away in 2005 from a heart attack. The race was created in his honor and also to educate the community on the importance of exercise.
"It's a great thing to carry on the memory of Brian," Nasi said. "And to really get out to people how important it is to exercise at a young age and carry that through to your adult life; and how important in this day and age with obesity rates the way they are, heart disease and diabetes."
Nasi said she enjoyed seeing a lot of new faces this year, as the number of participants held close to average over the last eight years.
Proceeds of the race this year are going to Michigan Special Olympics and Highline Corporation, in Hurley, to be used for new cardio equipment, Nasi said.
"We've done a lot of donations," she said. "Anything that is heart healthy through the school and the community, we pretty much give everything back."
Gerry Traczyk, Hurley Lioness member, said she's been involved with the race since it began.
"It brings so many family members together," she said. "We've got strollers, we've got senior citizens, and it's a great race. It isn't as competitive as some of the other races; it's a fun race."
Nasi agreed, saying that the race was a great start for everybody in the family to get out and exercise and "make sure that's No. 1 on their list.
"It's very much a family-oriented race," she said. "We're not real high gear on the timings – of course we love the young runners who come each year and really run their best. And that's great, but I guess the main focus is family and friends and children and grandchildren just getting together and having fun, and basically coming to a heart healthy event to carry on through their lives."