— Other cities, big and small, have women-only running
events. So, why not Detroit?
question weighed on runner Mary Culbertson’s mind, and she
decided to do something about it.
38, of Saline, Mich., joined forces with Epic Races, a
female-owned nonprofit in Ann Arbor, Mich., that plans
sporting events. The result is the inaugural Detroit Women’s
Half Marathon and 5K, which is scheduled for Sept. 22 on Belle
Isle. The race is designed to encourage women to get fit, have
fun and focus on their health.
women tend to feel more comfortable and more willing to try
something like this when it’s mostly other women," says
Culbertson. "You can be fast. You can be slow. It doesn’t
a bond that develops from women running together."
upcoming event will raise money for the American Heart
Association, in large part because there is much work to do to
address heart disease, the No.1 killer of women.
further evidence — statistics gathered by the Go Red For
Women campaign — on why the upcoming fund-raiser is vital:
Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year,
killing approximately one woman every minute.
estimated 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart
Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for
developing heart disease.
Women comprise only 24 percent of participants in all
grandma passed away from congestive heart failure in January
of 2012," says Culbertson, who began planning the half
marathon in January.
than 1,000 women have registered so far, and there’s a
it’s geared toward women, men can sign up.
just ask that they wear skirts," she joked.
saved her life.
Byrne of Shelby Township, Mich., didn’t know there was a
hole in her heart until she was pregnant with her first child.
blood pressure shot up — not too unusual with pregnancy. But
it stayed up well past the delivery of a healthy baby girl, a
sign that something was wrong.
revealed the abnormality in Byrne’s heart that had been
there and slowly getting worse since her birth. If baby Taylor
hadn’t triggered the spike in blood pressure, causing
doctors to perform open heart surgery, Byrne’s life would
have been cut short.
health scare changed the direction of her life, says Byrne,
38. She and her husband, James, both automotive engineers,
decided that she would become a stay-at-home mom.
not having your life makes you re-evaluate what’s important
in life, she says.
also became more conscious about wanting to make sure I’m
staying as healthy as possible," says Byrne, who became
an avid runner after recovering from heart surgery.
since run several half marathons, and is looking forward to
the first Detroit Women’s Half Marathon.
even talked a couple girlfriends who have never run a half
marathon into joining her.
something very encouraging and affirming about an all-women’s
event," she says. "There’s a lot of camaraderie as
women cheer each other to keep going. You’ll hear women out
there running and calling out to other women, ‘Keep going!
Come on! You’re doing great!’"
advises anyone planning to do this half marathon or any other
athletic event to make it a personal journey.
always going to be somebody who’s faster, stronger, looks
more fit; it doesn’t matter," she says. "Each one
of us has to accomplish our own goal. Each one of us has
something to be proud of, and we need to embrace that in
ourselves as women."
thing happened earlier this summer.
Schwartz and her 10-year-old, Ryan, had a water gun fight and
she came out dry!
I’d end up completely wet," says Schwartz. "But I
actually chased him around the house this year. And he’s
looking at me like, ‘What!?’ And I’m, yeah, ‘Mama can
keep up now!’"
back to the beginning of the year.
couldn’t run from her house down the driveway, about 150
get-serious, get-healthy trigger for Schwartz? She turned 40
all have those points in our life where you look at yourself
and ask: Where are you going?" she says. "I’d been
gaining 2 to 3 pounds every year, which isn’t a big deal
until you look up and realize it’s been 10 years."
addition to Ryan, another son, Jamie, 18, and her husband, D.J.,
she had special reason to refocus on her health. Schwartz has
worn a pacemaker since she was 26 because of an irregular
began training for her first 5K in March, following an online
couch-to-5K program. She recalls how she felt immediately
after completing her first 5K with Ryan in May.
was angry and grumpy," she says. "I hate
than an hour later it dawned on her how much she had
has helped me lose weight, but more important it has helped me
lose weight and be in better shape. You can starve yourself
and lose weight. Losing weight doesn’t mean you’re in
feel a lot better. I have more energy. I’ve lost 15 pounds
and people tell me my face looks brighter," she says.
Hill runs for her father.
Motley died in 2008 of a massive heart attack at his home,
with Hill’s two daughters in another room. He was 59.
for those two daughters, Monae Fife, 16, and Jordyn Hill, 11.
motto is ‘happiness is a choice,’" she says.
"Living healthy, being a good example for my girls makes
runs for herself. "It gives me peace of mind."
41, has been on and off various exercise regimens for years.
She decided to get serious about her health after going
through a divorce in December.
that same time she connected with a group called Sisters Tri-ing