Parkinson Foundation Walkathon and 5k run Saturday

ALPENA – A local Parkinson’s disease support group will hold a new event Saturday to raise awareness about the degenerative condition.

The Alpena Area Parkinson’s Support Group will host a walkathon and a five kilometer run at Thunder Bay Junior High, with registration starting at 9 a.m., Co-facilitator Mark Beegle said. With live music, speakers, food and other fun, the event is designed to appeal to a wide range of people.

Beegle himself has Parkinson’s, and he and wife Jeanette have worked to bring this event to Alpena for some time, he said. They were inspired by a similar event they saw at Okemos High School, east of Lansing.

“When we went down there, we were very impressed by the walk and what they did, and all the things that they had available for people there at the walk,” he said. “We decided that we wanted to try and get one here.”

With help from the Michigan Parkinson Foundation, the Beegles were able to make the event a reality, Beegle said. He and the local support group hope to turn it into an annual happening.

After registration, the run and walk starts at 10:30 a.m. on the junior high school track. After a few laps, the runners will split off and run in some nearby neighborhoods.

For those who stay behind, some local bands will perform, a DJ will play music and local Girl Scouts troops will help serve hot dogs, Beegle said. A crew from Home Depot will build a project to keep the kids entertained, and physical therapists from Petoskey, known as Big and Loud, will be there as well. They specialize in voice training and physical therapy for people with an array of conditions.

“This is not only for people with Parkinson’s, but it’s also beneficial thing for people who have had strokes, or with other types of muscular disorders,” he said of the physical therapy.

The cost is $15 for walkers and $20 for runners, Beegle said. Proceeds will go to the Michigan Parkinson Foundation, which in turn will use it for local educational efforts.

Those with questions about the event or support group can call Mark and Jeanette at 595-6463, or Mark at 464-7067, he said.

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5688. Follow Jordan on Twitter @jt_alpenanews. Read his blog, A Snowball’s Chance, at