It’s a big week for fall racing in Michigan with this Sunday marking the 41st running of the Detroit Free Press Chemical Bank Marathon and Half Marathon. Since 1989, Barbara Bennage has been involved with helping organizing this race tradition in The D. She’s served as executive race director of the event since 2014.

“The best part about my job, aside from giving runners the opportunity to experience a unique race and change their lives, is I have the greatest staff in the world,” says Barbara, who works in the marketing department at the Detroit Free Press and describes herself as a recreational runner – “I run for mimosas,” she jokes.

This race brings between 26,000 – 27,000 runners to the downtown streets of Detroit, across the Ambassador Bridge into the Canada (for the international races), and onto Belle Isle. On this latest episode of the MRG Podcast, Barbara shares the history of the longstanding race – it started as the Motor City Marathon in 1963; the course began including the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit with Windsor, Ontario, Canada, in the late 1970s – and also explains how today there are both international and domestic distances for runners, and what that means for the runner experience.

{To listen to this episode, click on the player at the top of this article. Or, download the show using iTunes or your favorite podcast app. Search for “Michigan Runner Girl.”}

Photo courtesy race organizers

 

Barbara also talks about the race’s health and fitness expo that takes place in Cobo Hall this Friday and Saturday. More than 100 exhibitors will be on hand for this event. The race after-party, meanwhile, is a big celebration that offers some $5,000 in giveaways.

While online registration is over, runners still can sign up for domestic races this weekend (not race day) at the health and fitness expo. There is a 5K and mile option, too. Learn more at the race web site here »

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A special thanks to Mike Moran, Mike Youker and Jonny Tornga of Quarter After Productions in Traverse City, Mich. for producing the show. Check out this studio’s work 

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