Former triathlete rebuilding Detroit through the power of movement and fitness

Posted at 4:44 PM, May 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-26 17:48:49-04

Growing up, Terra Castro;s grandfather, Bill Olsen, competed in Triathlon. It didn't take long for her to follow in his footsteps.


"I started racing triathlon in high school," says Castro. "In 2005, I did my first Ironman.  I was seventh overall…I did two to three Iron Man’s a year. Top five, top 10 at least in every Iron Man. My last Iron Man, I was third place."


Castro says she dedicated almost every waking hour to her training.


"I would get up at 4:30, do a quiet time, bible study, then I would hit the pool for an hour and a half, come home and eat a second breakfast, take an hour and a half nap, bike for four and a half hours, eat, take another nap, run for an hour, then I would eat and go to sleep, and so it became…..It’s a very selfish path, but it was my career, and so I was very focused."


Four years ago, Castro's life changed completely.


"It was a very big change and it happened very quickly. In 2013, I was in the middle of a half Iron Man and I just realized I was losing the joy for racing," she explains. Castro quit halfway through the race.


"I was in a very dark relationship, and I just kind of woke up to the fact that I needed to get divorced…I needed to make changes in my life."


So Castro moved back home to Detroit. She started coaching other triathletes and in 2016 her gym, Detroit Body Garage, was born. She says returning to the Motor City was the best decision she's ever made.


"I was able to walk with my grandpa through the last year of his cancer, he saw this gym open and thriving."


Castro says the gym addresses a need she saw within her West Village community, and her gym members agree.


"It’s really built around family, so you know you’ll see moms with kids in there like today, then you’ll see others than come in off the street…some people that aren’t really in shape… but they know they want to take steps forward," says gym member Tim Holdridge.


"Wwe rebuild one part at a time, that’s what happened when I moved back to Detroit, it’s a city that’s rebuilding. I see so much hope and joy here and we’re trying to share that through sweating," says Castro.


This month, Detroit Body Garage celebrated its one-year anniversary with a free community workout. They also marked the occasion with a big announcement: Detroit Body Garage has partnered with the new Foundation Hotel to run fitness programming and a run club out of the downtown hotel.


"I see this as a model for every neighborhood in our city and beyond, that you can get people collectively in a community, and they can move and they can grow together," says Castro. "For my whole racing career, I focused so much on me and I didn’t enjoy that. I love moving and using movement as a gift, but this was my calling. This is where I’m supposed to be and I finally feel home."