Running & Michigan: A Perfect Pairing for Traverse City Blogger  

It’s not entirely surprising that the idea for a running blog came together on a run.

Heather Durocher
Heather Durocher

What has been surprising for Heather Johnson Durocher, the mastermind and runner behind Michigan Runner Girl, an online community for endurance athletes and Michigan lovers alike, is just how well its been received since it debuted in 2010.

“The audience at the beginning was probably my immediate family members,” Durocher quips.

The site now boasts more than 17,000 views per month, with compelling stories about running in Michigan. A journalist and writer for more than 20 years, when Durocher decided to combine her love of running with the state she grew up in, it hit a nerve with readers who run.

Heather trail“My appreciation for Michigan continues to grow, as it happens to all of us as we age and mature and finally realize the simplest pleasures truly are what make life worth living. I found distance running later in life, and its gifts are seemingly endless. I’m equally as grateful for a gorgeous landscape of Great Lakes shoreline, inland lakes and rivers, forests and trails, and rolling hills which serves as a backdrop to all the outdoor playing I love so much,” she writes on the site.

Her passion for running came later in life, after the birth of her third child, who is now 10. Durocher was looking to get back in shape and ended up meeting a group of women who pulled her into their running and biking circle.

“I never really liked running when I was growing up,” she said.

The camaraderie of running with a group kept her going and she eventually came to view running as a lifestyle. Her first race was the Grand Rapids’ Riverbank Run, which hosts a variety of distances from 5K (3.1 miles) to 25K (15.5 miles). Durocher went big, completing the longest distance.

“It was the power of friends,” Durocher said.

Since then, countless runs in her Traverse City hometown and throughout Michigan have changed her in ways she’s forever grateful for. Sharing the stories of state races, runners, trails, and more has become a way to pay tribute to her sport and draw newbies into the fold.

“I just feel like it’s brought out the best version of myself,” she said.

Read more about Durocher’s journey at Michigan Runner Girl. Look for upcoming guest blog posts right here through MI Big Green Gym, a partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, mParks (Michigan Recreation & Parks Association) and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. MI Big Green Gym promotes Michigan’s extensive park and recreation opportunities as places to get active and stay healthy.

Photo credit: Chris Short (main), Michigan Runner Girl (thumbnails).

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