Contact Us

Aliya Armstrong – Started Her Own Running Group

Gazelle Girls, Aliya Armstrong

My first attempt at completing a running event was training for the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Grand Rapids Kids Marathon in 2011. I had always despised running, but I was excited to complete this training with my four-year-old daughter. The sad part? I could not even run a mile without stopping. I watched my daughter’s energy and excitement during our run practices, and I was so winded and jealous. What happened to the competitive cheerleader and very active woman I used to be? Did I lose it after birthing three children? This occurrence ignited a spark in me to start my own training for a 5k. I registered to complete the 5k race the same weekend as my daughter’s Kids Marathon.

I had never RUN a 5k until I participated in a run club at New Hope Baptist Church facilitated by the YMCA. I was very scared and nervous. But I went on to complete the entire Fifth Third River Bank Run without stopping. I felt so accomplished and motivated. One year had truly made a difference.

From there, I began my own crusade. I am sure you are well aware that 4 out of 5 black women are obese. What an alarming statistic. I knew I was in that number and so were many of the women I called friends, family and acquaintances. I went on a mission, and I brought many women along with me for the journey. My grandmother frequently attends Zumba and the couch to 5k program now. She was a former border-line diabetic. My husband ran his first 5k with me this year after three knee surgeries, and my daughter has competed in three kids’ fun runs. We really make it a family affair.

My mission continued through a running group I developed called S.T.A.R.S. (Sisters Taking Action Reversing Statistics). I competed in the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute 5k and won first place for my age group, ME, the woman who – just two years ago – could barely finish a mile without stopping. To date, I have completed a Duo-k (5k and 10k back-to-back), five 5k’s and the 10k leg of the Grand Rapids Marathon relay team. I have run in the rain and in the cold, and lost over 35 pounds… feats I NEVER imagined I would ever do. In April, I will be running in my first half-marathon, the Gazelle Girl.

Running has changed my life. I look at my family and the health of those around me totally differently, and I attempt to make a positive, HEALTHY difference in the lives of people that I come in contact with.

Back to Gazelle Girl Page

Best of Channel 95.7

Recommended For You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Please solve this simple math problem to prove that you are a real person.

Sign up for Friends With Benefits quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive Friends With Benefits contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.