- By Doug Kurtis
percent of the participants in the Detroit Free Press / Flagstar Bank Marathon
are first timers or "Greenies" because they are assigned green
numbers for the race. Their stories will hopefully move others to believe that
they can do what seemed impossible.
Scully, 41, Wixom, Completing
a marathon has been a huge goal after years of helping friends complete their
own first marathons. The Detroit Free Press course is one where she can see her
husband John watch her cross the finish line. Running has provided many gifts
of love, encouragement and kindness from elite, middle of the pack and Penguins
making her a better runner and person. Scully especially wanted to recognize
her training partner and mentor Cindy Goodhue who will be crossing, not the
finish line, but the starting line together!
Bond, 45, Warren, The
middle child of nine, grew up in Detroit and is dedicating his first marathon
to his brother Marty, who suffered a brain aneurysm last September and is still
fighting to recover. Neal's sister Denise will be running her fifth marathon
and the two are following Marty's example of fitness, courage and love that has
kept him going almost a year later.
Pouget-Peters, 37, Windsor, is
using it as a way to understand her inner strength. It has been a love/hate
relationship especially in regard to her supportive husband who listens to all
her ramblings about running. For Michelle it's an opportunity to see the
streets of neighboring Detroit from a new perspective and also return home to
Canada for a few miles. She credits Windsor's Running Factory with helping her
keep to a training schedule and blames runners for any water shortage due to
the copious amounts of water they consume. Crossing the finish line will be a
personal victory as well as a reminder of her mother's belief that you
shouldn't under estimate yourself.
Merissa Ferrara, 25, Grosse Pointe, a PHD student in Communication The
marathon has been on her list of goals that she made at age 20. As a big Detroit sports fan, you'll see
her supporting her favorite teams in her outfit on marathon day. Last November
she ran a half marathon on a whim and thought why not shoot for the Detroit
marathon. “There is no way to describe the feeling of victory of crossing
that line. I love the running community, seeing familiar faces, courteous
waves, knowing glances. It's a nice feeling to be part of it”, according
to Ferrara. She found Hansen's training schedule rigorous but is slowly making
it through by doing a lot of mental imagery of running through the finish
line and celebrating afterward, plus getting the right attitude. Her boyfriend
is also running it.
Sherry Ledbetter 40,
interested in running a marathon after watching Oprah Winfrey run one.
Ledbetter made a major lifestyle change 19 months ago and lost 116 pounds. She
chose Detroit after picking up a flier in an expo booth at the Indy Mini
Marathon. Her goal is to be able to smile and move as she crosses the finish
line. Her brother Ben will be running his first as well.
Bernard Clifford, 54,
Ann Arbor, has been running off and on for 17 years. Six years ago he was in an accident
that left him in a coma for about 18 hours. For years he has trouble with fatigue and sleeping. It was while running on the beach at an
AA retreat that gave him the idea that running a marathon would be helpful to
his recovery. Finally last
year a picked up a book called the "The Non-Runners Marathon Trainer"
and it has been his inspired him to make the commitment.
David Tucker, 53, Westland, began running seriously while
serving as a missionary on the island of New
Guinea. People from the highlands would come to watch, wondering why this crazy
white guy was running when no one was chasing him. I finally learned a useful phrase in the Dani tribal
language, "Ah kumili kumili mendek!" or "It's okay, I'm
crazy!" He decided to run a marathon after listening to race director
Patricia Ball speak at a Freedom Swings meeting. He listened to her talk about
the various legs of the marathon relay. Inspired by her description, he decided
to commit to the entire distance.
Matthew Peters, 27,
enjoys the support of his coworkers who he thinks secretly want to do a
marathon. He trains along Lakeshore Drive in Chicago and will be running with
his wife who is doing her second marathon. They chose Detroit because she's
from the area and they have a wedding to attend the weekend of the Chicago
Yeager, 22, Dearborn, Recently graduated from Albion College, where she played soccer
and basketball. After watching her mom complete three marathons she decided on
Detroit's marathon as a way to keep her physically active and something they
can shoot for together. It's
practicing what she preaches as an aspiring Physical Education teacher. The
Yeagers both love to run in Hines Drive and find it inspiring to encounter
smiling faces along the route.
David Churchill 30,
Troy, has been
running since early childhood when he chased his brother down the block. Now he's keeping one step ahead by
running his first marathon one week before his brother does (actually they are
great friends). He's only been seriously running for six months but hopes to
run faster than his brother. He credits a coworker, who has done 14 marathons,
with the inspiration to complete the distance and help him lose 15 pounds
Jay Haas 33 and
neighbor Jim Rocktoff, 41, Farmington Hills have been running for ten years but
decided to go after a marathon this year following a great Dexter-Ann Arbor
half marathon. Both decided on Detroit/Windsor because of the international
crossing. Jay loves finding great runs and races in his travels around the
Jim Zittel, 39 . Running has changed his life. Old friends wouldn't recognize him now
that running and good eating habits have helped him lose significant
weight. Jim has been running for
three years and has been hooked on running 5k's and 10k's until recently
running the Run Thru Hell and Crim 10-Milers. He was inspired by last year's
Detroit marathoners while running the 5km and is excited about the new
international course. Zittel is confident of doing
well based on the one-on-one coaching from Bob Baril at Total Runner and the
support of his girlfriend who also runs.
Contact Doug Kurtis at Detroit Free Press, 600 W. Fort St.