26Strong: Looking for Two Wannabe Marathoners

Insert yourself here—and pretend this is mile 25 of a marathon and you're still laughing.
Insert yourself here—and pretend this is mile 25 of a marathon and you're still laughing.

Fire drill of a post here: We are in Charleston, had internet issues last night, so our Hump Day Giveaway is postponed until tomorrow. Whew!

The tech problems were a blessing in disguise, though, because we learned this morning that we have exactly one week to recruit to mother runners to run a marathon with us as part of Saucony's 26Strong Program.

Yes, you read that correctly: We're looking for two wannabe marathoners to run beside either Sarah or myself.  (And we'll run your pace, your race, stop when you need a drink, gel, or a port-a-potty. We'll be your not-so-little cheerleaders through the whole course.)

I have to make this brief because we have to hit the road to get to our Charlotte event, so here are the details of the 26Strong if you're interested:

—You need to be a first-time marathoner. (Read: you've never run a 26.2-mile race before.)
—You need to be female—and, ideally, a mother runner.
—Because of our travel schedule, we need to run the Philadelphia Marathon, Sunday, November 23 (which is the Sunday before Thanksgiving, in case that matters). If you're going to be next to us, you need to be available that weekend, too.
—Ideally, you're mostly injury-free right now, and you've either crossed a half-marathon finish line or are planning to in the next few months. (We're huge believers in stepping up in distance incrementally so both your body and mind are ready for 26.2.)
—You do not need to be in Portland or Denver. Although we love all our international runners, you have to be in the Lower 48 to be considered.
—You need to be cool with having your training documented regularly on this site and on a 26Strong website.

What else? The majority of your expenses (entry fee(s), travel, gear from Saucony) will be covered. Sarah and I will help you with your training—the TLAM 20-week Marathon: Finish It program would start July 7—and cheer you on virtually and in person if/when when our paths cross in training. Then we'll be with you physically every step of the way on November 23 as you conquer 26.2—and find a strong you didn't know you have.

Want in? In the Comments below—not via email, please—let us know why you're an ideal candidate for the 26Strong program. Keep your entries to less than 200 words, please, and tell us why you'd like to run 26.2 with us. (Please include where you live and a bit about your race history.)

We will announce the winners here next Wednesday, April 16. If you have any questions, please put them in the comments below and we'll do our best to answer them asap. Thanks!


433 responses to “26Strong: Looking for Two Wannabe Marathoners

  1. I am 42 years old and training for my second half marathon in May. I began running a year and a half ago to train for my first half marathon and got hooked. I love that my 5 year old daughter sees me run and train and also wants to be a runner (we did a family race together last summer and she wants to know when we are doing the next one!). She asks about my training and stretches with me after my runs.

    I entered the NYC Marathon lottery hoping to run with my sister (who turned me on to running in the first place) but I did not win a spot. I would love to run the Philadelphia Marathon as part of this program – using a formal training program is really helping my current training and I love working toward the ultimate goal.

    Jennifer, Brooklyn NY

  2. I ran my first mile in my entire life last October at the age of 32. Previously, I avoided running at any cost. In school I faked illness, menstrual cycles, and injuries, and ruined my GPA with D’s in PE. I was “the fat girl” and I just knew I wasn’t built to run. At fourteen I weighed 238lbs and wore a size 20. I would never have believed I’d be entering this giveaway twenty years later.

    Though I eventually lost the weight that plagued my youth, I never found a love for fitness, and always thought running was impossible for me. After having my second baby, however, I knew that I needed to change for everyone’s sanity, and part of that meant getting my body back. Inspired by a mother runner friend who found balance and peace through running, I started the C25k program, and to my great surprise I fell in love. I have since run a 5k and an 8k, and I’m signed up to run my first half marathon in August.

    This unlikely mother runner is doing it! My daughter proudly tells everyone that mommy is “a runner” and I couldn’t be more honored.

  3. Well, I’m actually a pretty decent runner. Or at least, I try damn hard to be. I’m a mother of two little nuggets, ages 2 and 5.

    I started getting serious about running in Arizona, after my kids were born. While I wanted to “get my body back,” I didn’t really factor how all-night nursing, followed by coyote-accompanied runs in scorching, pre-dawn heat would affect my mind (because of our work schedules, we have to be done by 6:30 am, weather be damned.) While 11 miles is my longest, my sleep-deprived, overheated brain frequently hallucinated cheering crowds as I crossed the finish line of an ultramarathon.

    I figured after that I could handle most anything, but we’ve since moved to Colorado and traded 90-degrees at 5 am for hills, altitude and single-digit temps and me bundling up so that I look like a creature they would search for on a reality show. Did I mention I’m always freezing?

    Through it all, I still run because I love it. My husband signed me up for a half this summer because he knows I won’t do it myself. But, ultimately that 26.2 sticker is what I need for self-validation after all this.

  4. After serving 13 years in the Army, I was lucky enough to leave and become a stay-at-home mom. My whole life changed, for the positive, but I under estimated how busy and challenging my new role would be. I found it hard to find me time, ignored my fitness and focused on everyday life. I heard some moms at my sons preschool talking about doing a local 5k to help raise money for the school. I decided to run it. I was hooked. I began to run in the mornings before the kids had to be up. Then I decided to go big, do a half marathon. My motivation began to become those who said I didn’t have the time or that at age 34 I couldn’t just start running and finish a half marathon. But I wanted it. My kids began doing local fun runs while I did 5k’s and 10k’s. My 5 year old ran a 5k and my 1 year old did a mile fun run. My 13 year old now runs track and Mothers Day has become a rematch with my husband in a local 5k. Running has brought my family closer together while giving a mom like me something to focus on, help relieve stress and to set new goals. I finished my half marathon, the Columbus (Ohio) Nationwide Children’s Marathon. I did it. I was so happy and my kids and husband were proud if me. That feeling of accomplishment, even at my age, was like being a kid and riding my bike without training wheels. Big smiles!

    ~ Miranda Terry, mom of 3, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

  5. I’m a mom of 3 boys ages 9-14 & I hated running up until I realized I could do it. The summer of 2012, I started walking every evening. By the fall, I was walking 4 miles almost every day and I had lost significant weight. A pregnant friend asked me to start running 2:1 intervals with her, suggesting that surely I could keep up. And surely I did! After she had her baby, she jumped back in & with a few other mother runners, I started learning how to run, fuel, and get a little faster. The first mile I ever ran without stopping IN MY LIFE was in January 2013. My first race was a 10K in May 2013. I finished; that was all. I trained through FL’s hot summer and ran my first 1/2 in October. Then, I decided to run one in another state: Albany, GA this past March. I had a blast! I don’t know much about running other than I enjoy it, I’m very successful running with intervals (3:1’s & 4:1’s are my faves), and although I’m pretty terrified of the idea, I’d love to find out how it feels to run 26.2!

  6. Running a marathon is on my bucket list. 5 years ago I couldn’t have run 1 mile straight; now I am running my second half in a few weeks. Running has made me a better person both on the inside and out. I feel empowered. I am confident I can do anything.

  7. I am a 6th grade teacher (2-hour commute), a wife, a mother of 2 daughters, a dance mom 2-4 days a week, my daughter’s softball coach, a field hockey mom, and a gymnastics mom, too. I do all this and still find time to RUN.
    I have run a 10K and 2013‘s Broad Street Run. After my race my daughters were so proud of me. They wore my medal and told everyone that I won the race. I’m currently training for my 2nd BSR and signed up for the Rock-n-Roll half marathon in September. My favorite part of running is what it does for my daughters. They see their Mom as a runner and athlete, they ask to run with me, they love helping me cool-down, and are proud of me.
    A marathon is my ultimate goal. I WILL run a marathon one day. It is just a matter of when I get the guts to sign-up. I live right outside of Philly and have been debating doing this marathon the past 2 years. Either of you would give me the final push to do it. I would be honored.

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