GROW Guest Blog – Running Gazelle Girl

By Bonnie Nawara, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women CEO

A confession: I have never thought of myself as a runner, and I actually still don’t, but I have run two of the Gazelle Girl 5Ks. My first run was in celebration of a big milestone birthday. It was also the first year of the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon event, and my organization—Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW)—was chosen as one of the Charities of Choice. With those blessings bestowed upon me, how could I not run?

So my first step was to sign up for the Gazelle Girl training class. This is a great opportunity for inexperienced runners to learn with experienced runners at a healthy, safe, and comfortable pace. Through that class, I learned that running can be anything you want it to be: self-competitive, competitive with others, just plain old exercise, or fun with your girlfriends!

I was very proud of myself that first year, as even while on vacation in sunny Florida, I still ran my Gazelle Girl routine. I completed the first race doing a walk-run routine and loved the fact that my girlfriends (all younger than me, mind you) came back to the racetrack after finishing their run to run with me over the finish line. Words cannot express how powerful that moment was for me.

I did my second run the third year of the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon. This time I went “cold turkey,” meaning that I did not do any training but ran the race regardless. I walked/ran pace for pace with my friend Veronica, who was also a novice runner. We completed the run in good time and once again felt pretty proud of our accomplishment.

So for the 2016 Gazelle Girl event on April 17, I do plan on running, but I think perhaps this year I may add a tutu! See you on the track on April 17.


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Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW) is a non-profit organization focused on women at various stages of business ownership. We are the entrepreneurial resource that helps women take the next step, empowering and supporting them with professional expertise for a lifetime. GROW is once again a Gazelle Girl Half Marathon Charity Partner for 2016.