Josh Lieder, Michael Schwartz, Michael Hersch and Mitchell Sable celebrating with medals after their first half marathon.

Four childhood friends take on the Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank Marathon.

Four Metro Detroit men in their 20s, childhood friends who worked together at Camp Tamarack, all took up running this year to improve their fitness and give themselves a friendly challenge.

After successfully completing the Charlevoix Half Marathon in June, Michael Schwartz, Michael Hersch and Mitchell Sable, all 25, and Josh Lieder, 28, decided to sign up for the 42nd annual Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank Marathon, Michigan’s largest road race through the streets of Detroit and Windsor, Canada, on Oct. 20.

“We call ourselves the Runners of Royal Oak or RORO for short. Right now, we are the only members of this prestigious organization, but we are always looking to expand,” said Schwartz, a law student at Wayne State University who also works part-time at the law firm Carlson, Gaskey & Olds in Birmingham.

“I had never done any sort of distance running before this summer but thought it could be fun to challenge myself. I floated the idea of running a half-marathon to the other guys, and they all immediately jumped on board,” Schwartz said. “We ended up really enjoying doing our long training runs for the half together, and when we all did pretty well in the Charlevoix Half Marathon — our race times were all under two hours — we decided to keep the ball rolling and signed up for the full marathon in Detroit.”

The Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank Marathon is an iconic race for Detroit, with participants running across the Ambassador Bridge and through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. The deadline to register for this year’s International Marathon, International Half Marathon and Marathon Relay races is fast approaching on Aug. 26.

Executive Race Director Barbara Bennage said, “The marathon really brings people together, and we see that in the camaraderie of our first-time runners as well as those who have run the race dozens of times. And for those who might not be up to a full marathon, we have something for everyone including the 1-mile, the Meijer Kids Fun Run and the 5K.”
To sign up for the Detroit Free Press/TCF Bank Marathon, go to

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