It’s been six years since I’ve run in Detroit — I ran the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon in ’08, my second half marathon ever at the time — but that all changes this fall. And I couldn’t be more excited about it.

On September 21, a group of my running friends will join hundreds of other strong women at the second annual Detroit Women’s Half Marathon & 5K. I’m happy to have another fun and challenging race to look forward to, and I’m also thrilled to announce that Michigan Runner Girl is partnering with Epic Races, the Ann Arbor-based company behind this race (and many others). What this means for you: in the coming months you’ll find here on MRG great information about this event, the people behind it, and runners participating. Also planned are fun giveaways (think race entries and products!). I look forward to sharing even more details as they unfold … I can tell you that I am especially looking forward to being part of the race Expotique – MRG will have a booth there, with soon-to-be launched MRG clothing …

The Detroit Women’s Half Marathon & 5K was a great success last year, and organizers have lots of cool things in the works for 2014.

“The biggest change this year is the expo it will take place at Cobo Hall – we outgrew our space from last year and have some exciting things planned,” says Mary Culbertson, race director and merchandising coordinator for Epic Races. “Paint and Pour, which claims to offer the most creative night on the town, will have instructors helping participants replicate a race-inspired painting for a small fee. We’ll also have lots of other fun things planned every hour on the Detroit riverfront.”

Last month I met with Mary and her colleague Christina Turner, who serves as race director and marketing/expo director – we bonded over breakfast at Bubba’s here in Traverse City the morning after the Bayshore Marathon (Mary and Christina rocked the half marathon, and it was fun sharing race stories with one another). I’m excited to be working with these two amazing women. Here’s more about this race from Mary and Christina:

Last year’s event was a great success. How do you plan to build upon that?  

Christina: This year we are having a bigger and better Expotique experience. There will be lots of interactive activities, including a two-mile shake it out run/walk hosted by Fellow Flowers. We are encouraging more team participation, costumes, matching team shirts, etc. We will have fun water stops and cheer stations along the course again. There will be the race day vendors, as well as great finish-line food and fun.

Mary: We had a great inaugural year and are looking forward to the second. We are excited to showcase beautiful Belle Isle which is now a Michigan State Park – the start of the race will once again be at the Scott Memorial Fountain, which has now been restored since it has became a state park and is running beautifully. For this year we have kept a lot of the race the same to ease into the new management – we know they are swamped making everything beautiful!

/Photo courtesy Epic Races

/Photo courtesy Epic Races

Tell us about the Expotique…

Christina: The Expotique will be held at COBO Hall this year. Our host hotel The Marriott Ren Cen has discounted room rates available. We will be having a complementary pre-race yoga/tea event at the Ren Cen…think pajama party!

Mary: Brooks is our official sponsor of the Women Run the D merchandise and we are excited to offer what we think our some of the coolest shirts to be seen in! Last year’s medal was a big hit so we are looking forward to topping it. Also this year some great new awards by our sponsor Marlee’s. The overall winner and master’s winner of the half and 5K will be receiving $100 Gift Certificates to Marlee’s by Tappers.

Last year's medal and Sander's Chocolate for the Chocolate Mile - this year's medal to be revealed later this summer! /photo courtesy Epic Races

Last year’s medal and Sander’s Chocolate for the Chocolate Mile – this year’s medal to be revealed later this summer! /photo courtesy Epic Races

What kind of overall race experience can runners expect to experience when they sign on for the half marathon or 5K?

Christina: We want to offer the participants a full weekend of fun! Grab some girlfriends and experience all that Detroit has to offer! The Expotique will offer a unique shopping experience and a “mini salon” by Douglas J — get you hair done & nails painted. It will be a weekend of fun and inspiration!

Mary: We aim to make sure that whether you’re fast or slow, whether this is your first or your 50th race, we want to try and make it a race where you feel like a champion and you’re out there enjoying the camaraderie of other women who run. We also hope that, along with our charity partner The American Heart Association, Go Red for Women and our 2014 Heart Heroes, we can create more awareness about women’s heart health and hope to inspire more women to be Heart Smart.

Any thoughts on how girlfriends or families can make a weekend out of this race experience? 

Mary: On Belle Isle we have lots to do including the Belle Isle Aquarium which is now open on Sundays, which I think will be a great post-race activity. Downtown Detroit also has lots to offer, including:

– Our host hotel, the Mariott at the Ren Cen, is a short stroll to Cobo Hall for the expo and is a beautiful walk down the The Detroit Riverfront.

Bike Rentals and tours can be found here » and here »

Visit  New Center ParkEastern Market or Campus Martius Park for music and entertainment. We also recommend these places for amazing eats:

Stay tuned for more news and stories about this race and runners participating. 

Are you planning to run the half marathon or the 5K? Did you run it last year?



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