Gazelle Girl is almost here! As we look to this weekend’s 6th annual Gazelle Girl Half Marathon, 10K & 5K in Grand Rapids, MRG caught up with one west Michigan runner who hasn’t missed a Gazelle race. This Sunday Rachelle Salisbury, who stated running in 2012, is running the half marathon (she’s got a PR on her mind!) and you just may recognize her from the Gazelle Girl Facebook page — race organizers selected her to grace the cover photo on the page. Here’s more about Rachelle, 38, who lives in Kentwood with her family:

How and when did you start running?

I’ve always been a runner. Cross-country, track, and soccer through school. I started seriously running again as an adult in 2012, which coincidently was the debut of the Gazelle Girl. Running is freedom to me. As a full-time working wife and a mother of 3 boys, running is my “me time.”  Just my music, the pavement, and me!

In March of 2012, I ran my first 5K and remembered the feeling of crossing the finish line. I started looking into different races and got a random flyer in the mail for the Gazelle Girl. I toyed with the idea of running the half marathon but by the time I gathered the courage to do it, they had sold out. So I signed up for the 5K. The following year, I signed up as soon as I could for the half to commit myself. I ran it and was hooked! I have run the half marathon every year since, including this year, God willing!

What was it like for you to be recognized by race organizers earlier this year — and to have your photo shared on the Gazelle Girl Facebook page?

I am honored and humbled to be recognized by Gazelle Girl. I am no one special, just an ordinary woman who loves to run! My photo was a random selfie in my kitchen! If I had known it would be viewed by thousands, I would have put a little make up on!

What are your hopes for this year’s Gazelle?

Hopes for this year’s race is to run under 2:15. It is a goal I’ve had for a couple years.

Do you run with friends, or are you more of a solo runner?

Mostly I run by myself due to my crazy schedule. I love a good running buddy, though!

Any advice you would want to share with other runners planning to participate in this year’s Gazelle Girl?

There is no first or last place, just a finish line for you to cross and lots of high fives. You are running for you, finishing something you started when you signed up.  Every single woman that stands at that start line is strong and amazing and I am proud to stand among you!

There’s still time to sign up for this weekend’s Gazelle Girl Half Marathon, 10K & 5K in Grand Rapids. And you can save $5 off your race entry when using the code MRG18. Register here »

Be sure to stop by the MRG booth at the Expotique on Saturday! 

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