Why I run: to motivate my family to be healthier

Aliya Armstrong, her daughter, and her grandmother

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) On April 19, more than 2,000 women will hit the pavement for the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon and 5K. Many of them have a reason for running; a personal story behind her effort to take part in the event either as a returning runner or for the first time.

Aliya Armstrong lost both of her parents before they were 35 due to health-related causes. She decided take action by eating healthy and staying active. She lost 40 pounds in a year and also got her eight-year-old daughter and 76-year-old grandmother to adopt healthier lifestyles.

Aliya has become very passionate about running and spreads that passion throughout the community. She leads a group of 45 women with a running group she founded, S.T.A.R.S. (Sisters Taking Action Reversing Statistics).

Gazelle Girl Half Marathon and 5K is a motivating event for women of all ages and experience levels. One hundred percent of proceeds from the event will benefit local female-focused charities including Kent County Girls on the Run, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW), the YWCA, and Women at Risk.

The Gazelle Girl Half Marathon and 5K kicks off at 8 a.m. on Sunday, April 19 at Calder Plaza in Grand Rapids. Participants can enjoy the Expotique on Saturday, April 18 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Ford Fieldhouse at Grand Rapids Community College. For information on how to sign up, visit gazellegirlhalfmarathon.com.

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