Susan Brunell didn't run, doesn't like running and had no plans to ever start running.
And then a friend asked her to run for child abuse awareness in the Run the Course for Dominick Calhoun event and the Fenton Area Public Schools school psychologist couldn't say no. She will be running a 5K for the very first time Saturday.
"I have a lot of nerves," said Brunell, a St. Clair Shores resident. "I'm not sure I'll be able to do this."
She said the race was a good enough cause to persuade her to give running a try.
"I'm running for kids that don't have voices for themselves," Brunell said.
Brunell was asked to run by Kelly Rector, who came up with the original idea for the event. Rector wanted to run in an event to help raise money for abused children. However, the Troy resident and avid runner couldn’t find such an event in Michigan.
That's when she approached Rick Calhoun and Childhelp about putting one together, and the Run the Course for Dominick Calhoun took shape.
“I’m a runner and I just wanted to find an established event to participate in to raise money for abused and neglected children,” said Rector, who also volunteers as a mentor at Childhelp. “They embraced us and we can’t wait for the event.”
Dominick's paternal grandparents, the group Dominick’s Law and Childhelp Michigan also helped organize Run the Course for Dominick Calhoun, a run/walk event April 21 at Kensington Metropark in Milford. All proceeds will benefit the youth that Childhelp Michigan serves.
Registration for Run the Course for Dominick Calhoun will begin at 7:30 a.m. April 21. Opening ceremonies will begin at 9 a.m. with the 5K beginning at 9:15 a.m. and the one-mile walk at 9:45 a.m. The event will go until 1:30 p.m. Families, individuals and teams can have a light lunch while children enjoy bounce houses and other child-friendly activities.
Rector said her son often reminds her of Dominick, a 4-year-old Argentine Township boy that was tortured and beaten to death in April 2010.
“It really hits home,” she said.
Rector, who works as a special education teacher at Utica Schools, also has a team of about 30 people running with her, including Brunell.
“I just mentioned it to people and they said ‘whatever we can do to help,’” she said. “It’s great people are getting involved to make a difference.”
Brunell said she has been leaning on her friends who have a lot of running experience and has been training since January.
"Everyone says adrenaline helps," she said. "We'll see if it's true."