Heather Johnson Durocher is founder of MichiganRunnerGirl.com, a site she launched in 2010. As a longtime Traverse City-based journalist and health and wellness writer (and lover of all things Michigan), Heather’s passion for running led to the creation of the MRG blog. As Heather’s running journey and passion for health and wellness grew, the Michigan Runner Girl community evolved into what it is today: a resource for living happy and active in the beautiful Great Lakes State. Through partnerships with race organizers and like-minded businesses and organizations throughout Michigan and beyond, Heather has grown MRG to include: a weekly podcast reaching listeners across the Midwest and the United States; an engaging and friendly online community; special events held throughout Michigan connecting like-minded women, including the first-ever Michigan Runner Girl Trail 10K & 5K this Aug. 4 in Lake Leelanau; and a line of MRG clothing, gear, accessories, and collectibles – with a percentage of proceeds donated to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and its preservation efforts. Heather is married to Joe, a fellow Traverse City native, her road-biking partner, and the person who makes her laugh the hardest. They’re happy to be raising their three children – Emma, 19, Andrew, 17, and Alex, 13 – in the most beautiful place on Earth.
Director of Business Development
Joe Durocher is MRG’s director of business development (a.k.a. the numbers and always-thinking-big-picture guy). Having started and operated numerous businesses throughout the past 20 years, including a construction waste company he sold in 2017, Joe brings to MRG a wealth of experience that completely complements Heather’s creative side. His fantastic sense of humor is appreciated just as much as his keen business sense. Joe is also one heck of a cyclist, though he’ll never let on as much. He’s the proud dad to Emma, Andrew, and Alex, the three best kids around.
MRG Event Coordinator
Pam Carrigan helps bring MRG events to life, whether the gathering is a winter weekend of cross country skiing, hiking and running at a Michigan state park, or a special evening with Olympian and 2018 Boston Marathon Champion Des Linden. She is a certified personal trainer and trains clients at her home studio in Traverse City. This Michigan native enjoys all forms of exercise – both in and outdoors. In the gym, she is a big fan of the TRX Suspension Trainer and the BOSU. Outdoors, her favorite activity is trail running, especially in the fall. When she isn’t creating new programming for her clients, she spends her time being mom to three daughters (19, 17, and 13 years old), wife to her husband of almost 24 years and primary caretaker of the family dog, Ozzie. As her children are getting older and more independent, she is considering returning to the sport of triathlon or attempting an ultramarathon. However, in the meantime, she’s very content with the occasional half-marathon and being a cheerleader to her kids and clients.
MRG Expo Coordinator
Emma Durocher is MRG’s expo coordinator, helping share the Michigan Runner Girl love at race events across Michigan. Each year, you’ll find Emma working her organizational magic at the all-women’s race events Gazelle Girl Half Marathon, 10K and 5K in Grand Rapids and Detroit Women’s Half Marathon, 10K and 5K on Belle Isle in Detroit. She also assists with other MRG special events and is the video editor for the MRG YouTube channel. Emma is a 2018 graduate of Central High School in Traverse City, where she ran cross-country all four years and served as captain during her senior year. Since her freshman year, she’s been taking college classes through the Early College program at Northwestern Michigan College. She is considering a career in medicine/health and wellness. She is heading off to Michigan Tech University this fall to study biochemistry. She’s run four half marathons and completed her first marathon at the 2018 Bayshore Marathon over Memorial Day weekend in her hometown of Traverse City. You can hear all about her first marathon experience by listening to the MRG podcast episode with her mom here »
“Healthy Chef Ali” is a frequent contributor to MRG. A wellness chef and health coach, Ali shares recipes and insight on eating and living well. She has been cooking, feeding and teaching others about “real food” for more than 20 years, working as a personal chef, as well as in small cafes and large conference centers.
Ali is also a Certified Health Coach, a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Ali is passionate about working with fresh, local and seasonal ingredients and describes her food philosophy and cooking style as simple, intuitive and seasonal, believing that delicious and nutritious meals nourish the body, mind and spirit. Being healthy also means keeping the body active. She practices yoga and is an avid marathon runner and has recently caught the triathlon bug. Combining her knowledge of cooking and nutrition with her love of staying active, she enjoys helping others improve their fitness, increase their overall wellness, and find a healthful balance in all areas of life. Ali believes that health is a choice you can make, and she gets immense joy from teaching people strategies so that they can make the best nutritional and lifestyle choices for themselves.