Kalamazoo has a great running community. There are lots of picturesque trails and wide roads which you can run down and running groups like Kalamazoo Area Runners and Borgess Run Camp (1000 people are taking part this year!). Along with a great local sports store called Gazelle Sports, who work a lot within the community putting on run groups and races. They also sponsor an organisation called 'Girls on the Run' which has a branch in Kalamazoo.
Girls on the Run (GOTR) is a non-profit program for girls in 3rd to 8th grade, encouraging them to be healthy and confident and teaching them to run.
It costs a lot to put a student through the program so they hold fund raising events to offer financial aid to girls who want to participate.
Which brings me to the tutu run... A 2.2 mile race held on Feb 2nd at 2pm and as the name suggests, you wear a tutu whilst navigating your way round Spring Valley Park. All in the name of fundraising for GOTR!
Over 500 women, men, children and dogs joined in the fun! We gathered in a snowy parking lot then took off round the course, navigating hills, snow and ice!
It was quite a picture to see all of the brightly coloured tutus against the bright white background.
The snow makes the scenery beautiful but it was hard work running up those snow covered hills. Running on the snow is like running on sand or frozen mashed potatoes! It's like taking 2 steps forward or one step back. And its tiring - it felt like we were running up hill the whole way! At the end was a tight bit of trail with big lumps of ice so we had to almost tiptoe over the lumps and try not to slip and fall.
But it was fun turning round the last corner and hearing the DJ blast out "Let it go! Let it go! The cold never bothered me anyway!" seemed very appropriate and put a smile on my face!
Of course the hot chocolate and Dunkin Donuts at the end were also a welcome treat.
But the best bit was seeing my friend's daughter - who was eager to be one of the first to start - take off running and just keep going! She ran and ran, only stopping every so often to make sure she could still see us. She did such a great job and it was such a joy to see all of the young kids running their hearts out with big smiles on their faces! In fact it was an 11 year old who won the race.
We even made it onto the MLive website...
Next year I have asked Charlotte to do it with me (hopefully I will be able to keep up with her!).
Note: For a $25 registration fee I received a t-shirt and entry into the race. Kids and anyone who didn't want a t-shirt could just pay $10.