An Ahwatukee Foothills woman is organizing a team for a women-only half-marathon race that will raise money to fight childhood obesity.

Susan Loken, 47, ran in two Olympic marathon trials and is the head coach for Team Chances, a non-profit half-marathon and marathon training and fundraising team. She will lead the subgroup of the “Sole Sisters” for the Valley’s Women’s Half Marathon on Nov. 7.

Loken said she was excited about this race, because she thinks a lot of women who would otherwise be intimidated to run a race will join in on the women-only event.

“We’re really going to tailor this for women and make it fun and special,” she said. “Everybody’s really going to bond and build friendships, which is the best part of running.”

Starting Aug. 4, the women will get together three times a week to train. Once a month, they will have a girls’ night out, which will include things like advice from nutritionists, massage therapy, facials and happy hours, Loken said.

While they train, each of the women who signs up will be required to raise $1,000 for Chances for Children, a non-profit organization that provides access to sports and physical education.

“Not only are the people who join our group getting fit themselves and improving their own life, they’re also improving the life of kids in the same way,” Loken said.

The money raised will implement running programs, such as First Step Fit Kids. This program encourages children to walk or run 25 miles a semester at their school, and provides them with shoes and T-shirts, according to the Chances for Children website.

In 2009, Fit Kids had almost 2,000 participants, Loken said.

Members of “Sole Sisters” have until the day of the race to raise the money, and a fundraising meeting will brainstorm ideas on how to raise the money. For a previous P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon fundraiser, Loken said one man printed and sold $700-worth of T-shirts.

“We help them every mile of the way and every dollar of the way,” she said.

The race is being hosted by Women’s Running Magazine. It will start in Scottsdale and end in Tempe.

 

Jolie McCullough is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a senior at Arizona State University.

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