Gazelle Sports, the Michigan-based running specialty shop, and footwear and active apparel retailer, recently unveiled additional details for its upcoming She Runs Grand Rapids Half Marathon, 10K and 5K event, formerly known as Gazelle Girl.
Now in its 10th year in downtown Grand Rapids, Gazelle Sports' signature, women-focused event returns on May 1, 2022 for in-person racing, following two years of virtual events, complete with a new name, new date, new race course and more.
Gazelle Sports' website indicates that the She Runs event is open to all who identify as women, including those who are non-binary or transgender—the same policy that was in place for Gazelle Girl.
Gazelle Girl began in 2013 as the first women's-only half marathon event in Michigan, and today, as She Runs Grand Rapids, remains one of the largest events of its kind in the state. Hosted by Gazelle Sports, in partnership with presenting sponsor, University of Michigan Health-West, She Runs Grand Rapids aims to connect women through movement, achievement, celebration, friendship and fun.
"We're working hard to ensure this is our best year yet," said Jennifer Brummitt, CEO, Gazelle Sports. "She Runs Grand Rapids will maintain all the heart of Gazelle Girl, and expand upon the invitation to every She who runs. We can't wait to hit the pavement with all of our sisters in movement."
The name change isn't the only thing new about the event for 2022; the date and race course are also different. Over the years, Gazelle has adjusted the event date to avoid the Easter holiday and school Spring Break weeks. By moving to the first Sunday in May, Gazelle Sports says it's looking to ensure consistency in the event date moving forward, as well as participants reaping the benefits of more spring-like weather. The final details of the new course are still being finalized, but Gazelle Sports has confirmed it will continue to highlight downtown Grand Rapids and its iconic landmarks.
She Runs Grand Rapids 2022—made possible by additional support from legacy sponsors, Foster Swift and WOOD TV8 - eightWest—will benefit the YWCA West Central Michigan, Girls on the Run West Michigan, Girls on the Run Kalamazoo and the Gazelle Sports Foundation. Since the first race in 2013, more than $300,000 has been donated to local non-profit organizations that empower women and/or motivate movement.
This year's event also coincides with the 50th anniversary of Title IX (of the Education Amendments of 1972). Critical to female athletes nationwide, and widely considered one of the most significant pieces of civil rights legislation in America's history, Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all programs or activities in all federally funded educational institutions. The original Gazelle Girl event was created to commemorate Title IX, and celebrate women and movement.
"That first year, we didn't know what to expect," Brummitt said. "What we experienced, was an inspiring field of women and girls—2,000 strong—who successfully launched this event to stand the test of time. It's our great privilege to be able to continue to provide an event that honors Title IX, inspires movement and helps thousands of women accomplish their personal goals."
Registration is now open for the 2022 She Runs Grand Rapids Half Marathon, 10K and 5K.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for West Michigan Woman.
Photo courtesy of She Runs Grand Rapids.