Seven years ago, to commemorate her 50th birthday, Angie Witting started running.

Not only did the Eastpointe, Mich. mother and grandmother keep running, she also inspired her family to do the same.

“I originally started running as a goal to do something special on the day I turn 50, and the rest of my family followed — all running marathons and half marathons,” Angie says.

This weekend Angie will toe the start line of the American Home Fitness Detroit Goddess Half Marathon, 10K & 5K on Belle Isle — with her daughter Sarah, 31, of Warren, Mich.

“I am truly blessed to have Sarah as not only my daughter, but also my friend. And running this race is one of the many things we share doing together,” Angie says.

23530492664_736d34a880_kThe Detroit Goddess race, taking place this Sunday, Sept. 18, is particularly special to Angie, “because my daughter Sarah is truly a Heart Hero.”

Sarah Witting, who lives with bradycardia, which means a slower than normal heart rate, and has a pacemaker, is a past Heart Hero for the Detroit Goddess Half Marathon, 10K & 5K.  Along with partners the Detroit Medical CenterGo Red for Women® and Fellow Flowers, the American Home Fitness Detroit Goddess Half Marathon, 10K, and 5K each year honors a few amazing women: runners or walkers of any level that embody the qualities of a Detroit Medical Center (DMC) Epic Heart Hero.

What is a DMC Epic Heart Hero? A DMC Epic Heart Hero is a woman who has come back from a heart issue, has taken control of her health, and refuses to let this stop her. She approaches life with passion and strength, as she knows too well how short life can be. She embraces a healthful lifestyle and she teaches and helps others in their quest to get healthy. A DMC Epic Heart Hero knows the risk factors for heart disease and stroke, and she takes action to minimize the risk. She educates others about these risk factors to help them take control of their heart health. A DMC Epic Heart Hero isn’t perfect, and she might not be fast, but she is definitely determined!

2016DetroitGodddessBAngie says she’s grateful to be part of an event that recognizes the achievements of women who have experienced a heart issue — and just keep on moving.

“Sarah daily overcomes not only heart challenges, but other physical challenges as well to celebrate life with family, friends and coworkers,” Angie says. “She is amazing. I am in awe of these women and feel privileged to participate in the event. Numerous times they have contacted me about ways that they can bless Sarah. They are a fun, giving and generous group. To again be able to share this event with Sarah this year is truly a blessing and I look forward to the future when Sarah’s daughter Emily will join us.”

 When Sarah heard about the Detroit Goddess race, she asked her mom to join her.
“At the time, we had no idea about the ‘heart hero’ program. When I was selected to be a heart hero, the race became an achievement to me as I was still working through some post-pregnancy issues,” Sarah says. “Running this race is so uplifting to me as I get to meet new Heart Sisters and build an amazing support group as we come together for this one day. Having my mom with me just makes it that much more special.”
The Heart Heroes have become more than just a one-day representation, Sarah says.
“They’ve really become a support group. I feel like getting out there every year with the girls is a way for us to keep lifting each other up and proving we can still do this,” she says. “This past year, when I was going through a difficult time, these heart sisters came to my house with food, comfort and even gifts for my daughter. It’s important to keep that sense of community so that we never forget we’re not battling these diseases alone.”
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Sarah says her mom is her hero.
“She has stuck by my side through all my challenges. She is an amazingly kind and giving person. She is strong and never gives up,” she says. “It means the world to me to share this race with her and feel her love and support. We are the girls in the family and we stick together. I’m looking forward to when my daughter can run with us.”
Are you running the American Home Fitness Detroit Goddess Half Marathon, 10K and 5K this weekend on Belle Isle? MRG will be there! I am running the half with my daughter, Emma, and we’ll also be part of the Saturday Race Expotique — please stop by the MRG booth and say hello! 
Online registration continues through this Thursday, Sept. 15 at 4 p.m. EST. Use the code MRG16Epic10 to save 10% off your race entry. Register here » Race weekend registration is also available, in person at the Expotique at Cobo Hall. 
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