Category Archives: Fitness

Parks, Recreation, and Disc Golf

Genesee County parks cover more than 11,000 acres, so there’s never an excuse not to go out and get some fresh air. Besides the usual fun of picnics, hiking, and walking the dog, there are many leisure sports that don’t require much equipment and are a ton of fun and good for meeting new friends. You don’t even need to join a league—just get some people together and play a game!

1. Ultimate (Frisbee)

When you chance to come upon a game of Ultimate in the park, at first you might think it’s a leisurely game of catch with the disc. Then, suddenly, fast action takes over as a few of the players suddenly bolt down the field. The game goes from a dead stop to a full sprint, much like soccer. And that’s why it’s awesome. If you want a great way to get in shape, get some friends together and play Ultimate. Check out the official rules here at the USA Ultimate website.

What it’s most like: soccer, or schoolyard rules football.
What you’ll need: a frisbee or official disc, and eight small cones for marking the field.
Number of players: Official is seven on a team; you really need at least four on a side to make it interesting.
Athletic level: Intermediate to advanced. You don’t have to be a college intramural hero, but it helps.
What to avoid: Heavy or restrictive clothing. You’ll want to really move when you’re playing this one.

2. Disc Golf

It’s a bit like golf, but adapted for casual play with a frisbee. There are several dedicated courses in the area, but frankly, playing in just about any park is as simple as choosing which tree to aim for and seeing who hits it in the fewest throws. Watch out for passerby, though…

What it’s most like: playing catch with a frisbee, or video game golf
What you’ll need: a frisbee, or an official set of discs if you’re serious
Number of players: Up to four in a party is customary, but they say that in regular golf, too…
Athletic level: Casual

3. Bag Toss

Since I can never bring myself to utter the word “Cornhole” in public, let’s just call this one Bag Toss, ok? If you have been here long, you’ve seen/heard/been bewildered by this game which looks easy to play, but really isn’t easy to master.

What it’s most like: horseshoes, or darts
What you’ll need: a bag toss set, instructions here. You can also purchase them in sporting goods stores
Number of players: Two teams of two
Athletic level: Except for your shoulder and/or elbow? Nil

4. WIFFLE Ball

Yes, there are people who take it much too seriously to the point of mistaking it for the real thing. But c’mon, it really isn’t complicated. Just get that little plastic bat and ball, a few friends, and act like you’re playing baseball, but without breaking a sweat. It’ll take you right back to being a kid again. Find a clear spot where you won’t run into any trees, and avoid dogs that will chase down the ball and steal it while you’re playing. Be prepared for 9 year old boys to come up to you and ask to play, too. Always remember: as a resident of the United States of America, if a child under the age of 12 ever approaches you and asks to join your WIFFLE ball game, you are obligated to allow them to play AND to bat next. Rules is rules. Speaking of which, the official rules are at the WIFFLE company website, and this league has also established some more serious gameplay rules, if you really care that much…

What it’s most like: WIFFLE ball. There is no substitute
What you’ll need: I think you can guess that by now
Number of players: Bare minimum is two per team, better with 3—5 on a side
Athletic level: Intermediate. Hand-eye coordination is a big one
What to avoid: Taking it too seriously

5. Tip HORSE

Let’s face it, unless you’re practicing for the team, playing HORSE is pretty boring. So, to speed things up, try this version where only tips and free-throws count. You can run your butt off, and the shots are wild and make great Instagram photos.
What it’s most like: a wild game of half-court basketball
What you’ll need: a basketball, and a half-court to play it on with no innocent bystanders to plow over
Number of players: Three is ok, but better with four to seven players. Eight or more people should really just get two games going
Athletic level: From casual to intense, just depends on how bad you wanna WIN

The gameplay
1. Scoring is reverse of standard HORSE. Letters are awarded for made shots, first player to get all letters wins.
2.Choose an order of play. This must be followed strictly during the game. Choose what is considered out of bounds and other ground rules (for play off of fences, obstacles, etc.)
3.First player shoots from predetermined spot (usually free-throw line) and intentionally “bricks” the ball. It must hit backboard and/or rim.
4.The next player in line has only two bounces to “tip” the ball and attempt to make the shot. IMPORTANT: A “tip” is when the ball is caught and shot again while the player is in the air. (This is where the hustle comes in.)
4a. If the shot goes in, a letter is awarded to the player and he is allowed to attempt free-throws (set shots). Each made up to three in a row each receives another letter. Missed shot that catches backboard and/or rim resumes tip play as in #4. Airball removes a letter.
4b. If shot misses and catches backboard and/or rim, play continues to next player who attempts a tip.
4c. If tipping player cannot attempt a tip within two bounces from previous rebound, or if player airballs his tip, it removes a letter and player must brick from free-throw line to set up play for next player in line.
5. First player to spell HORSE wins.
6. There are no negative letters. A player who has no letters and airballs, etc. stays at no letters.
7. Since hitting the backboard and/or rim is built into the rules, a bona fide shot attempt can include intentionally slamming the ball off the goal to make it really tough for the next player.

GO! Hit the Trails this Summer

The DNR estimates that our 12,500 miles of Michigan state-designated trails leads the nation, so there’s probably a trail close to you. Tune up your bikes, bring sunscreen, your reusable water bottle and some snacks, and hit the trails!

Flint River Trail

Downtown Flint to Genesee Recreation Area: 24 miles


Development of this trail network gained momentum in the early 1990s when the Friends of the Flint River Trail formed to host Sunday afternoon bike rides, organize trail cleanups, and advocate for its expansion.

Really a network of 24 miles of paved paths, the main terminus is located at UM Flint. Passing along the north and south edges of the Flint River, the trail has two spurs that connect with Mott Community College and Kettering University.

The original trail from downtown to Carpenter Road was established in the 1980s, so watch out for potholes: some of the surfaces are a bit patchy as you travel along the downtown stretch. The current path winds north along the river through several parks and natural areas to the village of Genesee at the north side of Mott Lake where you’ll spot Stepping Stone Falls. From here, the newest section of the trail (completed in 2015) continues through Genesee Recreation Area. Along with the planned Grand Traverse Greenway Trail, Flint River Trail will connect downtown Flint via the Iron Belle Trail from Detroit to the Upper Peninsula.

Genesee Valley Trail

The Mall to Chevy Commons: 4.5 miles

Built over the defunct railway that once served automobile factories, the 4.5-mile Genesee Valley Trail runs from Genesee Valley Center on Linden Road to Chevy Commons near downtown. Five years in construction, it was completed August 2015, in collaboration with the city of Flint, the Charter Township of Flint, and the Michigan Department of Transportation. It was thoughtfully designed with new paving and HAWK (high-intensity activated crosswalk) signals to provide safe passage across busy streets. Now connected to the Flint River Trail network, it’s a great way to travel between the mall and downtown, with restaurants and other amenities along the route. Make a day of it: a full tour from Genesee Valley Center north to the village of Genesee and back will rack up 32-miles for your round trip.

Buell Lake County Park

14098 Genesee Rd. in Clio: 1 mile

Just a few steps away from the Buell Lake Boat Ramp, the trail takes about 25 minutes to complete and ends close to restrooms and children’s play area.

For-Mar Nature Preserve & Arboretum

2142 N. Genesee Rd. in Burton

For-Mar includes several trails, including a planned 5k route, which can be accessed at both the north and main entrances. Hike along the bend of Kearsley Creek and explore the trails that twist through the stream’s heavily wooded flats. Trails are well maintained and path directions are marked for ease of use for families.

Flushing County Park

4417 N. McKinley Rd. in Flushing: 1 mile

Flushing Park’s trail runs along Carpenter Road with a bend close to the Flint River. The terrain is good for leisurely excursions on bike or on foot, verdant landscape of trees and lawns. Bring your dog and a pair of running shoes and enjoy one of the most beautiful park trails in the county.

Linden County Park

15349 S. Linden Rd. in Linden: 1.5 miles
Linden County Park’s trails are open year round. The main trail is a 1.5-mile loop through beautiful terrain studded with maple, oak and beech trees. It can be completed on foot in a little over 1/2 hour. The other runs through the center of the park and is perfect for biking.

Future Connections

There are more plans in the works for the Iron Belle Trail, which will run from Detroit’s Belle Isle Park to Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula. Now more than 60 percent complete, the Iron Belle Trail will boast 791 miles of bicycle routes, utilizing existing multi-use trails along U.S. Highway 2. A coalition including the Michigan Fitness Foundation, DNR, MDOT, the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance and local community groups is campaigning to raise $168 million in private funding to complete the project. Once completed, it will be the longest continuous trail in the state.

Trail Etiquette: Rules is Rules

If people are falling in love with nature for the first time this season, there are some simple rules they need to know first: Don’t feed the wildlife; don’t litter (pack it in, pack it out); weed is still illegal in Michigan; and—DO NOT PLAY YOUR F***ING MUSIC ON THE TRAIL.

It’s okay for hikers and cyclists to share the trail and enjoy the outdoors, but please leave the Bluetooth speakers at home. These resources belong to the public, not just people that like Justin Bieber. If y’all are going to spend your time on the trails instead of at the mall, great, but have some respect for everyone else. The same goes for drones, too—they sound like giant wasps and make you look like a jerk. They are also illegal.

Friends of the Flint River Trail
PDF Trail Maps from Genesee County Parks
Trail overviews with maps

Special thanks to Katie Herzog for the trail rules inspiration.



OK, guys, the CRIM race is happening this weekend. Now in its 40th year, the CRIM has really grown up. It’s now actually like, six races all going on at the same time (super-confusing, right?)

With all of this going on, The Phoenix has cut through the noise to give you the definitive CRIM Field Guide. There, don’t you feel better?


The Lois Craig Invitational
Michigan Special Olympics Race
Start time: 6pm
Saginaw Street in Downtown Flint

Michigan Mile Race Series
6:30pm – USATF Masters Men
6:45pm – USATF Masters Women
7:00pm – Seeded Male Racers
7:07pm – Seeded Female Racers
7:15pm – High School Challenge
7:20pm – Open Mile
7:25pm – Young Runners Mile

10 Mile Race VIEW MAP
7:30am – Wheelers and hand cyclists, sponsored by Fusion Medical
7:50am – 30 Year Runners
8am – Run/Walk – 10 Mile Competitive Walk Guidelines

8K Race
9:30am – Run
9:40am – Walk

5K Race
10am – Run
10:10am – Family Walk (strollers allowed in final wave)

Teddy Bear Trot
12pm (parents welcome to accompany kids)
Race starts in front of City Hall on Saginaw Street and ends at festival finish line


Lawn chairs, a healthy snack, bottled water, and an umbrella.

5 am – 7 am: all routes to downtown except Saginaw Street will be open.
6 am: Race Day Packet Pick Up and Late Registration
7 am: ALL STREETS around the course are CLOSED.
7:40 am: Racers must be ready in the corral.

(With free parking!)
Car Parking Location: McLaren Medical Testing Lab (4400 S. Saginaw Street & Atherton) 2.5 miles from the Start/Finish.
Drop Off Location: Third Street (b/t Stevens and Wallenberg) 3 blocks from the Start/Finish.

– University of Michigan William White lot (Saginaw St. & Robert T. Longway)
– Carriage Town at Grand Traverse St. Footbridge across river to Start/Finish.
– Flint City Hall (Saginaw and Court Streets)

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