Susan Dirr was a Sylvania educator for 25 years. She taught at Arbor Hills Junior High as well as at Northview High School where she served as Assistant Coach for the cross country team. Upon retirement she was determined to retire from her job but not from her purpose. She quickly discovered that rediscovering her purpose after decades of nurturing young minds was not an easy task. Ms. Dirr turned to what has been called one of Toledo’s best kept secrets: The Elizabeth House.
This haven for women that assists individuals in fostering creative thought, rediscovering dreams and renewing the spirit, is located on the grounds of Notre Dame Academy at 3837 Secor Rd. Ms. Dirr decided to participate in a “Vision Incubator” offered at Elizabeth House to help her determine how to proceed with the next chapter of her life. She states, “During the program we were asked to write down on a heart-shaped paper what we were passionate about. I could only think of one thing. I wrote three letters to form one small word: R U N.”
Ms. Dirr has been a runner for over three decades. Surrounded in the supportive environment of other women, she has since taken that small word and turned it into something grand. She explains, “I began wondering if other women would like to run with me. I talked with the group and found a core group of women that were interested and ‘Sole’ Sisters with Susan was born.”
Even though the ladies call themselves a “running” group, all levels of fitness, or lack of, are represented. Ms. Dirr explains, “Some women walk the entire time while others run. We begin with dynamic stretching and end with stretching. Mainly, it is all about having fun and taking care of you.” Beth Collins, a regular participant, feels she is beginning to feel like a runner. She states, “I actually found myself going into Dave’s Performance Footwear and feeling like I belonged there! Being part of the ‘Sole’ Sisters is helping me discover a side of myself I never knew.” Participant Amy Marie Babcock said, “The group is an amazing reminder for me of what I can do when I have a dozen fierce women supporting me.”
All women interested in becoming a “Sole” Sister with Susan may do so by simply showing up at Wildwood Preserve Metropark located at 5100 West Central Ave. The group meets in the Window on Wildlife room (located at the stables) at 8 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Makeup and combed hair are highly optional. For additional information or to check if the group will still be meeting during inclement weather, please email Ms. Dirr at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Elizabeth House, Ms. Dirr continually heard “Dream it and do it!” She took the little word “RUN” she wrote on a piece of paper and turned it into a meaningful, enjoyable time in which she shares her love of running while simultaneously empowering women. “I am also expanding my purpose by assisting individuals who have a specific training goal such as running in a timed race. In the near future, I hope to take women to various locations across the USA to enjoy the beautiful outdoors, time with encouraging friends, and a chance to renew their souls as a ‘sole’ sister,” she pointed out.
by Mary Helen Darah