DETROIT (AP) — Other cities, big and small, have women-only running events. So, why not Detroit?
That question weighed on runner Mary Culbertson's mind, and she decided to do something about it.
Culbertson, 38, of Saline joined forces with Epic Races, a female-owned company in Ann Arbor that plans sporting events. The result is the inaugural Detroit Women's Half Marathon and 5K, which is scheduled for Sept. 22 on Belle Isle. The race is designed to encourage women to get fit, have fun and focus on their health.
"Many women tend to feel more comfortable and more willing to try something like this when it's mostly other women," Culbertson told the Detroit Free Press ( http://on.freep.com/1ft6Dji ). "You can be fast. You can be slow. It doesn't matter.
"There's a bond that develops from women running together."
The upcoming event will raise money for the American Heart Association, in large part because there is much work to do to address heart disease, the No. 1 killer of women. Here is further evidence — statistics gathered by the Go Red For Women campaign — on why the upcoming fund-raiser is vital:
— Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women's deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute.
— An estimated 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease.
— Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
— Women comprise only 24% of participants in all heart-related studies.
"My grandma passed away from congestive heart failure in January of 2012," says Culbertson, who began planning the half marathon in January.
More than 1,000 women have registered so far, and there's a 1,500-person cutoff.
Although it's geared toward women, men can sign up.
"We just ask that they wear skirts," she joked.
Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com