July 13, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Annual Mt. Olivet Cemetery run draws spirited crowd

Detroit— It was a lively Sunday morning in an east side cemetery as hundreds descended upon its picturesque grounds to raise money.

The seventh annual Sunrise Run to benefit Michigan’s Make-A-Wish Foundation was the first for Dana Gingrich of Clinton Township.

“It’s different, unlike running on a treadmill or in a park,” said Gingrich, who said she’s training for a half-marathon in the fall.

Gingrich was among about 330 runners and walkers who participated in the annual event at the 300-acre cemetery off Van Dyke near McNichols put on by Mt. Olivet Cemetery, which is part of the Mt. Elliott Cemetery Association.

Organizers say the turnout was the cemetery’s largest and raised about $20,000 for its bike team, which is riding this month in the 27th annual Wish-A-Mile Bike Tour, a 300-mile ride over three days to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan.

Lisa Curtis, an office manager for Mt. Olivet, said the cemetery’s efforts to raise money for the cause have resulted in about 20 wishes being granted for terminally ill children.

“It’s important for us first and foremost to support Make-A-Wish,” Curtis said Sunday of the 126-year-old cemetery. “Also, with all the revival going on in Detroit ... we want people to know, we’re still in the neighborhood. We’re still active in the community.”

Sunday’s program featured a 5K and 10K run and a 1½ mile fun walk/run, medals and a pancake breakfast.

Diane Sacha, 29, of Commerce Township came out with friends Sunday to join in.

“It’s a great cause and a beautiful run,” she said.

Added Rachel Kast of Holly: “It’s a change of scenery from what you normally do.”

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Alan Kimber of Farmington Hills (423) and others join what Diane Sacha of Commerce Township called 'a beautiful run.' / Robin Buckson / The Detroit News
A record number of participants gathers Sunday for the Sunrise Run at Mt. ... (Photos by Robin Buckson / The Detroit News)