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Runners cruise with shoes down Woodward

Melissa Burden

Royal Oak — Hundreds of runners and walkers, including Elvis and women dressed in ’50s-themed poodle skirts, kicked off the events of the 23rd annual Woodward Dream Cruise on Saturday as they ran along historic Woodward Avenue.

At least 700 or 800 participants laced up their sneakers to take part in the sixth annual Cruise in Shoes 5K run/walk, complete with a costume contest.

Charlie Whitmore, 60, of Wyandotte dressed as Elvis, complete with black sideburns and a white jumpsuit with a guitar strapped on his back.

“It definitely slows you down,” he joked. “We’re not going to try for a record today. We’re going to have fun.”

A mix of runners and walkers participate in the Cruise in Shoes 5K run/walk in Royal Oak on Saturday.

Whitmore said it was his fourth year participating in the race and he enjoys dressing in costume as he likes to watch “everybody smile, laugh and give you high-fives.”

Dan Schrock, senior vice president of field operations for AAA, the race sponsor, described the event as a family affair.

“The reason they do this so early, early, early, most of these people either have a car, or they’ll go set up with their family. But this will be an all-day event for them.”

Dream Cruise fans Rosalind Thompson, 60, of Detroit, and Mary Pringle, 61, of Detroit wore blue tutus and for their first Cruise in Shoes walk.

People participate in the Cruise in Shoes 5K run/walk as they head northbound in the southbound lanes of Woodward near 13 Mile on Saturday.

“Later on, we’re going to be on Woodward,” Thompson said. “This is how I kick off my Dream Cruise weekend.”

But not all people can make a whole day of it. Some, including Pella Roustemis, 42, of Grosse Pointe Woods, use the race to get a peek at some of the cool muscle and classic cars. She brought her children and racers, Michael, 9, and Panayiota, 11, to run in the family’s first Cruise In Shoes.

“We have our Greek Festival in St. Clair Shores this weekend,” Roustemis said. “It’s always the same weekend as the Dream Cruise, so we thought it would be a good way to participate in the Dream Cruise and kind of have a little bit of both.”