Beth Nykerk

Why did you chose to participate in SHE RUNS Grand Rapids?

I am really looking forward to participating in SHE RUNS Grand Rapids this year! I will be running the half marathon and am excited to be back. I participated previously in 2018, 2019, and 2020 (virtual due to COVID) when it was referred to as Gazelle Girl. I absolutely love how positive this event is! I have very fond race day memories from running this half marathon for those three years. The fact that there are three distance options to choose from (half marathon, 10k, and 5k) makes the race approachable, as well. I also really appreciate that there are pacers for the event. It is great that 100% of the proceeds go to the charity partners – Girls on the Run West Michigan, and YWCA West Central Michigan. I have been encouraging as many friends as possible to register for SHE RUNS and am eager to run again on April 30!

What is your impact story?

I just had my first baby in November 2022. 🙂 I ran throughout most of my pregnancy, including 7 races ranging from 5k to a full marathon! Running, walking, and strength training help me feel better both mentally and physically. I will officially start 12 weeks of training for SHE RUNS on February 6, and I can’t wait to get back into a fresh training cycle. I want to be a positive role model for my son, so that he sees Mom as an athlete. I’m also eager to start using the jogging stroller once the weather starts to improve! I started running in 2017 and can honestly say it has made such a positive impact in my life. I am also an elementary teacher, and share my love of running with my students. They hear me talk about my training, and I often share race day bibs, photos, medals, and stories with them. I want my students to see and know that they too, can be a runner!