October 12, 2018

Ford leads United Way marathon team of 260 runners, 100 volunteers

Run United runners support United Way in the Detroit Free Press Marathon.

Runners in the Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon take to the streets, including hundreds supporting United Way through our Run United team.

On October 20-21, more than 26,000 runners will converge in Detroit for a one-of-a-kind race that will take them over the Ambassador Bridge and through the Detroit-Windsor tunnel. Many will be running for a cause, but only one team will Run United.

United Way for Southeastern Michigan is an official Gold Charity Partner of the 2018 Detroit Free Press Marathon. Our Run United team raises funds to support our work funding the Education, Economic Prosperity and Health of every person in the communities we serve.

In 2017, our team of 180 runners raised nearly $90,000 and was supported by 70 volunteers who passed out water and cheered us on. This year, we’ve recruited more than 260 runners and 100 volunteers.

Runners in front of the old Detroit train station

Team Ford runners pose in front of Michigan Central Station.

Team Ford takes the reins

This year, our Run United team is supported by the Ford Motor Company Fund – the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company.

Ford has been a strategic partner and proud supporter of United Way for nearly 70 years. This year, Ford Executive Vice President and President, Global Operations, Joe Hinrichs, is serving as the chair of our community giving campaign.

Ford’s tradition of giving back can be traced to the founding family and the earliest days of the company, according to Todd Nissen, director of Ford Volunteer Corps.

“It’s a part of our legacy,” he said. “There’s always been a sense that we need to look out for others.”

Not only has Ford has committed funding to support the Run United team. They’ve also recruited 40 runners from Ford, which has a strong running culture and competes in a variety of races.

For several years, Run United has been supported by our corporate partners, and this year is no exception. In addition to Ford’s runners, FCA’s Team Jeep and Bosch’s team have recruited dozens of runners each.

Corey DeFever runs with her Team Ford teammates in training for the Detroit Free Press International Half Marathon.

A marathon, not a sprint

Since 1978, runners from all over the world have traveled to Detroit to take part in the marathon. It’s become an event that encompasses people from all walks of life, not just elite runners.

Corey DeFever, a Ford engineer by trade, has worked her way up the running ranks and is excited about the opportunity to hit the pavement for the first time with the Run United team.

This will be Corey’s second year running in the Detroit Free Press international half marathon, which she loves for its scenic paths through Canada and historic neighborhoods of Detroit. Although she’s been running for five years, this is the first year her focus has been diligent and it’s paid off.

“It’s great to see the improvement month over month,” she said. “Of all the ways to work out, running requires the least – no expensive gym memberships, just throw on your shoes and go.”

Ford Run United runner

This year, for the first time, Ford is hosting a team of employees running in support of United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

Giving back

In addition to committing to be more diligent about running, Corey also promised herself she’d look for ways to give back in her free time. Being a part of the Run United team allows her to do both.

“It’s extremely rewarding to see the immediate impact of your efforts and know you’re making a difference,” Corey said.

According to Todd, that mindset is part of the fabric of Ford. “We need to not only find ways to help people but encourage others to do the same.”

Click here to learn more about volunteer opportunities during Free Press Marathon weekend.