On many days, much in the lives of Jason and Holly Bertera seems to revolve around running.
The Southgate couple, married since February 2017, are members of two area running clubs, compete in everything from marathons to “fun runs” and even enjoy running around the city admiring all of the “improvements” they see.
“Running is something I’ve always enjoyed,” Jason said. “I’ve always been good at it. I might not finish in the top 10, but I have always pushed myself. I never thought I could do a marathon. Now I’ve finished two. My wife is the same way.”
Jason said one of his earliest and favorite photos shows him as a child with his father Marty wearing running gear. Nowadays, Jason and Holly go on runs with their own children – one in a stroller, the other running next to them.
In the years in between, they both graduated from Southgate Anderson High School where Jason played soccer instead of running cross country because the sports are held in the same season. He works at U.S. Steel. Holly works at a Beaumont family practice medical facility. They are the parents of Aria, a 6-year-old kindergartner at Fordline Elementary School, and 3-year-old Luca.
Jason and Holly are members of both the Downriver Road Runners and Century Club running organizations. The Road Runners are based in Allen Park and meet monthly in that city, Southgate, Wyandotte or Taylor. Century Club members meet weekly and have a more expansive membership, although participation in both clubs come from all over the region.
The goal of both groups is to connect people interested in running for competition and camaraderie. The Berteras actually met through their participation in the Century Club in 2013 at the Down & Dirty Obstacle Race. The “Century Club” name is based on the goal of running 100 miles a month, Jason said, although members might get as many as 300 miles a month or as few as 12.
“People support one another,” he said. “The motivation is to get out there and stay healthy.”
Club members talk about upcoming events, the latest running equipment and other topics. Of course, the main purpose for getting together is running together in various locations, enhancing each other’s running ability and staying in shape, Jason said.
“We’re from all over,” Jason said. “Many of our members are from the Downriver community… It’s funny: When we see other runners, we usually know who they are.”
Jason jokes that he remembers the date of his first marathon, the Freedom Marathon in Maryland on October 10, 2015, better than he does his wedding date. He trained two years for that one. In reality, on the day after his second marathon, In February 2017 in Phoenix, the couple drove to Las Vegas and got married.
Jason said another running highlight of his was the Detroit International half-marathon in which he crossed the Ambassador Bridge and Detroit-Windsor Tunnel with his father, the person who got him started running.
While Jason seems more focused on improving his physical running, he said Holly is getting more involved in the technical aspect of the sport, such as timing watches, socks, shoes, T-shirts, posture and checking her steps – “the whole arsenal.”
“We’re both very much running conscious,” he said. “Southgate has always been a good home to us. We see all of the investment. It’s a great place to raise our kids.
“We’re happy with Southgate. The majority of our runs are in Southgate. There are many people in the running community that are local. It’s always been a tight-knit community for us. We always feel safe running in the city.”