5 of Philly's strongest women entrepreneurs drive Philly Runs Free toward success.

Updated: Feb 19, 2020

And they want to help YOU make an impact.

Article by Nick Malfitano

As Legacy of Hope gears up its preparation for the Love Run Half-Marathon and

7K events on March 29, it spotlights some of the business partnerships it has

cultivated to help make the event a success – but more importantly, the women at

the helm of those same businesses.

Gina Mancuso of CoreFitness, Michele Redrow of CGI Racing (founder of the

Love Run), Jen Wendowski of Yoga Habit, Lauren Krinis of Lauren Krinis

Nutrition & Fitness and Natacha Vidal of Phila Massages are five such women

entrepreneurs who have not only forged alliances with Legacy of Hope, but are

actively contributing in many ways to the success of the Love Run races.

These women are movers and shakers in the local fitness community who are not

only aligned with Legacy of Hope, but are ensuring that runners participating in

the Love Run can do so for free, train for the event at discounted rates and provide

a palpable and immediate impact to the lives of cancer patients in Philadelphia.

Gina Mancuso

A licensed physical therapist and certified personal trainer, Gina Mancuso co-

founded workout group CoreFitness. Since its inception, CoreFitness has been an

integral partner and collaborator with Legacy of Hope.

“Over the past couple of years, CoreFitness has developed a great working

relationship with Legacy of Hope, and we are really proud to be involved in

supporting that organization,” Mancuso said.

“When Legacy of Hope became the official charity partner for the Love Run, Mike

[Rowe, founder of Legacy of Hope] reached out to me and asked if I was interested

in creating some training programs for #PhillyRunsFree, which is the partnership

between the Love Run and Legacy of Hope.”

Mancuso said she worked alongside both Rowe and Michele Redrow to develop

the concept that CoreFitness could provide training plans not just for participants

of #PhillyRunsFree, but for the entire Love Run event.

The training programs to which Mancuso were referred are both listed on the Love

Run’s website and are sent to participants of both the Love Run Half-Marathon and

7K, each lasting 12 weeks.

“They include recommendations for not just running, but rest days and cross-

training, too. There are so many other things that need to be done in order to

prepare for a good race, besides running. Obviously, the run training is a critical

piece of it, but if we don’t prepare our bodies in other ways, then we’re just setting

ourselves up for injury,” Mancuso said.

Mancuso elaborated that to be a strong and injury resistant-runner, focusing on the

development of one’s core is a crucial component to cross-training: And not just on

one’s abdominal muscles, but also hips and shoulders.

“In making those areas as strong and agile as possible, you become a better,

stronger, safer runner,” Mancuso stated.

In addition to cross-training, Mancuso pointed to proper nutrition, hydration,

stretching and self-care as keys to achieving optimum performance on race day.

“A yoga class is a good component to add into your regular training program,”

according to Mancuso. “And you can’t forget about rest days, either. Every body and everybody needs to rest in order to rebuild.”

Mancuso shared that while keeping people in good physical shape was a piece of

her purpose as a fitness professional, she looked for a larger reason and outlet

through which to contribute her efforts and the opportunity to partner with

philanthropic organizations such as Legacy of Hope meant she found it.

Mancuso explained her goal has been in utilizing her business as a platform

through which to introduce fitness-minded people to Legacy of Hope and its

mission of assisting those battling cancer.

“What can we do collectively as a group? We have all of these members and walk-

ins who are full of energy and great ideas, and when we unite together, that’s really

what it’s all about,” Mancuso said. “Gathering all the kinetic energy of anyone who comes to our classes or works out with us, and putting that energy into really specific, definable, measurable goals, which is supporting people with cancer.”

If anyone is interested in checking our future workouts with CoreFitness to get

ready for the Love Run, attend the following free sessions or go to their website for

a complete list.

Sunday, March 8: #PhillyRunsFree Boot Camp at 9 a.m. at the Art Museum steps.

Open to anyone (need not be registered for Love Run or Philly Runs Free).

Registration appreciated so we can anticipate class size. Register here. 

Saturday, March 21: CoreFitness Outdoor Boot Camp Spring Season Kick-Off.

Free for everyone, all fitness levels welcome. Register here.

Michele Redrow

The co-owner of CGI Racing, the organization which presents the Love Run,

Michele Redrow began event planning with a worldwide production company that

transitioned into holding triathlons – subsequent to when Redrow and her husband began competing in such events themselves. Their company began with five triathlons between Philadelphia and Maryland in their first year alone.

“In 2010, we decided to branch out into running. The first race we did was the

Rutgers Half-Marathon, which we still have today. We did that and it was really

successful. I have a lot of fantastic relationships in Philly, and my husband and I

kept saying, ‘Why is there no spring half-marathon in Philadelphia?” Redrow said.

Redrow said the company’s motto for introducing The Love Run in 2014 was “to

go big or go home” and the goal was to sell out registration for the first year at

10,000 people. They did.

“That first year, behind Rock & Roll San Antonio, we were actually the largest,

newest half-marathon in the country. It took a lot of work to get there, as it always

does. The whole mission statement for The Love Run was to combine everything

we love about Philadelphia with everything we love about running, and bring those

two together,” Redrow stated.