Detroiters joining forces to get healthy in the Motor City

Running groups are popping up all over town

DETROIT - Running groups in Detroit are easy to find on Facebook, meet-up websites or a quick Google search, and people are using them, choosing to work out with others instead of solo.

"Networkingout is networking through fitness and fitness through networking," said Shawn Blanchard, a co-founder of Networkingout and Run this Town.

People participate in Networkingout on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings meeting up in different areas around the city.

"We have over 20 people that have lost over 50 pounds, we have hundreds that are down 15 or more," said Blanchard.

It's a group that welcomes beginners and seasoned pros.

"You do not have to be an experienced runner. It can be your first time, your second time or your fifth time just come out and move," said Leslie Griffin, a Networkingout participant.  "There are a lot of professionals down here so the networking opportunity is great."

While they stretch and warm up, people are getting exercise and making new connections.

"You have people who are actually getting jobs, you have people that are collaborating on different projects," said Blanchard.

Detroit Threads is a clothing and rec store in Hamtramck.  It's also the namesake for the running group that gets together on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings.

The group defines itself online as "a group of runners who provide serious encouragement, but don't take themselves too seriously."

"We do it to be social, to get people to patronize local businesses and just to raise the profile of the city," said Kevin Lapointe from the Detroit Threads running team.

Their goal is to be healthy but to also set an example for others to use the city to run and to have a good time.   They meet up at a different establishment every Wednesday, go for a run, then socialize afterward.   Local 4 caught up with them one Wednesday at Whiskey in the Jar.

"I feel like if people see us running, like throughout the streets, then they say 'Oh this isn't so bad after all, this is a good place to come and shop, to go and dine, or even come and live,'" Lapointe said.

Marisa Solano Sanchez discovered Detroit Threads on Facebook and decided to go on a run with the group.

"I went running with five random people I've never met before at night in the streets of Hamtramck, but it was really fun and I made some really good friends," said Solano Sanchez.

Sunday mornings the Detroit Threads running team does bRUNch.

"Sundays more about eating, its called bRUNch with the emphasis on the run. So we meet up go for a run and then meet for a brunch," said Smith.

Smith encourages everyone, no matter their fitness level, to get moving.

"Get out there, get up off the couch, take the first step, whether its walking a block, walking two blocks before you even start running, the first step is just getting up and getting out the door," said Smith.

To learn more about Detroit Threads, click here.

For more information on Networkingout, click here.

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