Runners brave wintry mix for Gazelle Girl

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Thousands of women braved the falling temperatures and wintry mix Sunday to run in the seventh annual Gazelle Girl 5K, 10K and half-marathon races. 

The run celebrates the Title IX law, which made it illegal for women to be excluded from participating in any federally funded program. 

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss believes the run unites West Michigan’s women like little else can. 

“Today is really special because as you felt this morning theres a lot of energy and theres a lot of love,” Bliss said. “Theres women supporting women and its just the energy that’s here and the support that’s here is what I believe are what makes Grand Rapids special.”

Special enough to get the governor’s attention. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer attended the race and participated in the 5K. She says the wind and rain do little to prevent the tough women of the state. 

“We’re not made of sugar, we’re ready for this,” Whitmer said. “This is a great opportunity to showcase Grand Rapids, get young women, older women you know out for a walk or a run today and that’s why I’m here.”

Whitmer and Bliss believe that through the examples they set as powerful women and through events that showcase the female spirit, younger women may be inspired and continue to reach for new goals. 

“My hope is that young girls look at the governor, look at, you know the fact that theres a woman in the mayors office and they see themselves as potential leaders,” Bliss said. “I think that’s a really powerful image.”

She hopes it has enough momentum to change history. 

“I hope in my lifetime to see a woman as president,” Bliss said. “I think that would be pretty fantastic, maybe she’ll come here.”

>>App users: Click here to see race day photos

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