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StonesteppersnewThe "StoneSteppers" (named after Coach Mike Stone) is a running club with over 35 members most of whom reside in the in the Metropolitan Detroit area. While many team members are very competitive and typically place or win in their age groups, some members are not competition driven and run more for fitness and health. many new members have lost incredible amounts of weight, others have overcome tremendous personal obstacles and almost all have become much faster runners.

We are always looking for new members that want to improve their running and overall fitness. Many of the founding members mentioned below have been running for more than 20 years and have run road and track races from 1/2 mile to 32 miles in distance.

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Coach - Michael Stone

mike article

Michael (Mike) Stone has been running since 1977. He got into running while looking for something productive to do between playoff games. Though he continued to play baseball, volleyball, basketball and other sports for a number of years, running became his greatest passion. After several years training he decided to take on the marathon. He ran well and completed the Detroit Free Press Marathon in 1979 and completed it every year with the exception of two since than usually doing a good enough time to qualify for Boston. He finished in the top 100 overall in the Detroit Free Press Marathon many times during the 1980's thru the 1990's with a number of sub 3 hours times including a 2:44:36 best and a number of othe sub 2:50"s. Mike has Boston six times and he completed his 60th marathon in October of 2010 two months before turning 60 years old. The goal was to do 60 by 60. Make has run numberous half marathons and triathlons and  hundreds shorter races. he is still planing on doing the Hawaii Iron Man Triathlon stating by doing an Ironman 70.3 in 2011.

Typically Mike runs 180 - 200 miles a month yielding 2,000 or so miles per year. Though he ran alone in the in the 80"s but started running more with training partners in the early 1990's while at the Detroit Health Department. Alberta Smith-Plump was primary among them. She and Mike ran several Boston marathons and built a small running group at the health Department. that group ran and exercised after work for about five years occasionally running with the People who Run Downtown - a Detroit based group. For several years Mike and alberta led the Detroit Health Department group and referred to her as the long distance runner in that she got stronger and stronger the longer the run went on.

When Mike transitioned jobs in the 1990's, he met and started running with Jacqueline Blair through her niece Alicia. Alicia was very fast and she told Mike about her aunt who was supposedly even faster. mike couldn't believe it until he met Jackie and saw that indeed Jackie could really fly. in 1998, a core group formed around Michael, Jackie, Bob Parsons and Gina Norris. This entire group did well at the races and they were all friendly so at each event other runners,  African-Americans in particular would ask them where they trained. More and more people joined the group so in 2005, the idea of obtaining uniforms and forming the StoneSteppers was born.

Mike has won several awards over the years including the MLK run overall a few times and has finished in the top 5 of his age group in the three most competitive races in Michigan; Old Kent 25K, the bobby CRIM and the Detroit Free Press Marathon. He has won his age group in other races, received first awards and in 1982 he won the Councilman Jack Kelly award as the fastest city employee in the the community for his gracious attitude, pleasant smile and inspirational advice. To learn about Mike's race history click here.



2007 Michigan Senior Runner of the Year - Jacqueline Blair

MR Race Series Senior Runner-UP, 2006

blair07crim2aJacqueline(Jackie) Blair has been running since 1995 . Jackie has won hundreds of awards and she had dominated her age group during that time. she rarely loses in her age group in small or large races and she has won first masters numerous times and first overall in several dozens races Jackie was second in her age group at the Crin 10 miler(the most competitive race in Michigan) this year; in the 2005 Crim she was first amongst the 243 entrants in her time was a staggering 5 minutes better than all of the others. In the 2007 Detroit free Press Marathon she was second in her age group with a time of 3:40:09. Jackie regularly finishes in the top 100 Women Michigan marathoners is not her strongest race. She has ran more than 19 Marathons, many half marathons, and she has won the Track and Field All-American designation in the 10K an 5K and bettered the mark in several other distances. In the Michign Runner Best of Times issue,which records the top 5 times run by Michigan distances from 1 mile to the marathon, Jckies' name regularly appears in 6 - 8 different categories. Every year club members wait with baited breath for that article to come out. though several of us will finish in the top 5 in one or two categories, Jackie aprrears at least 5 times almost every year. Jackie is state class, national class and for the Stonessteppers first class! To see Jackie's race history click here



Michigan Runner-up, Senior Runner of the Year, 2007 - Cora Hill

Cora Hill has been running since 1996 . Cora started running while out walking her dogcoraa one  day shortly after her son had passed away. Her dog started running and she took off running with the dog and found that the activity was comforting in some ways. She met Mike and some others at a Hartford Memorial Baptist Church run in Palmer Park and has been running regularly since. During the late 1990's Cora was the only 9 minute pace runner (now known as Group B Team), so she would often start out early by herself before sunrise and Mike and others would catch up to her. She has shown a lot of courage and determination in her running efforts. Cora was also encouraged by Oprah Winfrey and how Oprah was able to train for and run a good marathon. Cora has placed in and won her age group in many, many races. Cora has run 14 marathons; including the Boston Marathon several times and 7 half marathons. She has earned Gold medal awards at the Senior Games. Cora has also won the Track and Field All-American designation in the 10K. Recently Cora has retired from her Detroit Public Schools nursing position and has become a part time personal trainer. She loves to exercise and encourage others to do. To learn more about Cora's race history click here



ron articleTrack and Field Leader - Ronald Ruffin

Ronald (Ron) Ruffin has been running track and field since high school. He was so good that he earned a track scholarship to college, but was not able to run much in college. When he graduated from college he went on to become both a Track and Field and Road Racing force in the Southeastern Michigan area. Ron has won countless age group awards and medals in Road Races and at Track Meets. Ron travels to track meets in Ohio, Ontario, Illinois and other Midwestern states and he has competed at the Masters Championships in Boston and elsewhere. He frequently brings home medals from these meets that feature that best age group runners from across the country. Ron is very versatile in that he excels at distances from the half mile to the marathon. He holds the team best marathon time of 2:37. Ron has been running competitively for over 40 years with a brief break in college. At the 2007 Detroit Free Press Marathon run finished 2nd in his age group.

 Click here to see more of Ron's remarkable race history.





Team Mentor & Motivator - Gina Norris

Gina Norris has been running since 1979 and started running when she was in high school.  Gina rarely misses a practice session and she is known to knock on team member car windows while the rain is pouring down and say, "Come on let's get started." Like many of the veterans, Gina has won countless age grgina articleoup awards in races. Gina has run more than 30 marathons in eight different states and she has also run 15 half marathons. Gina has run the Boston Marathon five times as well as having run New York, Las Vegas and Columbus. Gina's biggest claim to fame is her busy schedule and you can't stop me attitude. She has obtained several advanced degrees while working full time and running her normal schedule. She has been known to train every day at 4 am. go to work at 6 am. then drive more than 40 miles to work where she teaches special ed teens. Gina is also known for her love of shopping; she and Jackie have been known to take other group members on 4 and 5 hour shopping trips immediately after a long run with no pause for rest. Gina is also well known for the quadruple set of gloves that she wears in the winter time. Her hands get especially cold so during the winter if you see a tall fast runner with 4 or 5 pairs of layered mittens covered with hockey socks and also has on running tights and maybe a sleeveless singlet, you know that you have just seen Gina Norris! Like Jackie, Gina has also earned the Track and Field All-American designation in both the 10K and 5K. Gina and Jackie's shopping pays off pretty well in that when we have a team evening outing they both attend looking like two models; the running must be paying off too. (Of course, that can be said about many, many team members.) To learn more about Gina's awesome race history click here



damon articleAssistant Coach - Damon Fueri

Damon ran his first marathon in 1982 and since then has run over a dozen marathons and 100 races between half marathon and marathon distance. Damon has a strong passion for running and wants to continue to improve his overall mental and physical fitness. He is a certified personal trainer and assistant coach to the team. When Mike Stone is not present to coach the team, Damon always steps up to keep the team practice sessions running smoothly and motivates others with his positive attitude. His biggest achievement was winning the Governors Cup several years ago. Since then, Damon has been the winner of the Zanglin Downriver, Motor City Shakedown, Gobble Gobble Gallup and many other shorter races. To check out Damon's race career click here





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Last Updated on Saturday, 06 December 2014 19:40