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 started running around my youngest daughter’s first birthday. That was 4 years ago and I have never looked back. I love running. It is my special me time and my therapy. I love how I am silently leading my two daughters by example. Showing them how to be fit, have fun and have strong bodies.I have run many short distance races and 5 half marathons, but the full marathon is still my Everest.
    In Nov. 2012 I was attacked by a pack of 5 dogs while out running. I have suffered greatly because of the attack but have fought through it. While it has not been easy I have kept running, refusing to let the attack steal something from me that brings me so much joy.
    Now that my youngest will be starting kindergarten in the fall I feel like I will have more time to dedicate to training. I am hopeful that 2014/2015 will be the season of my first full marathon. I am fully aware arriving intact and healthy to the starting line of any race is already a victory in itself. I always put everything into training, I think that is why I don’t take signing up for a full marathon lightly. I live in sunny San Diego, CA and would be honored to be picked to run my first full with you ladies.

  2. Hi! Do you like Piñacoladas (virgin for me) and running in the rain? Are you in love with the Ragnars? Me too! That is my game. I am a Colorado native and have 3 wonderful minions! I have always dreamed of doing the 26.2 after giving Birth to my children but struggle with time management and love of sleep! The Lucky 13 has always been my distance of choice as a Mother runner until you two came along. Sarah and Dimity get my rump over that hump! Take me to the city of “MOTHERLY LOVE”. My husband is graduating this May with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. I have been raising the kids solo while he has worked full time and attended school! This would be a great present and accomplishment for myself after sacrificing so much for the past 6 years for his goal!

  3. I have run most of my life since grade school but have been a serious adult who joined a running club this past year. I met up with a friend who had the same thoughts as I about running BUT made the Ritter team for the NY marathon. I vowed to support her. She was a runner who didn’t follow a plan closely which worked for her but brought me to my first injury in 38 yrs of running because I didn’t recover correctly. I always thought marathons were for runners who needed to prove something to themselves or others and I totally didn’t think that was for me. I have always loved my running and had nothing to prove. Now I wonder if I did things my way could I do a marathon? In 2013 I ran 13 halves before my injury. I am easing my way back in and in Saucony’s since 1981. Love the brand and love the idea of running my own marathon.

  4. This would be an amazing opportunity. I am running my first half marathon in three weeks and since I started training I have been thinking more about doing a full. But I still have doubts in my head about it. I have been running since I have had my second child. I went from a 12 min mile to now running a sub 9 min mile. I am so proud of my accomplishments with my runnig. Now that I have three children it’s not easy but I still push myself to run and train. It makes me feel awesome that me children always “play” running and “workout”. I feel like such a great mom for passing on such great ideas to my kids. They think working out is so much fun. I love my husband for supporting me and my kids for making me realize how important it is to live a healthy lifestyle.

  5. I’m hoping old college friends/crew teammates are eligible….hi Dimity!! If nothing else, this is my chance to tell you that reading and listening to you both over the past few years via “Run Like a Mother” and the podcasts — and especially hearing about Dimity’s Ironman journey — inspired me to get back into a running routine and recognize that it’s OK that running doesn’t come easily or naturally to me. I came off a few post-baby years of exercise slackerdom last year and began running again (I had completed a half-marathon in 2006 pre-babies, then exercised very erratically after kiddos arrived in 2007 and 2010). Last summer, I eased back into it and made slow progress. Last fall, bought a house here in the Bay Area, CA and packed/moved/unpacked/did house projects and the whole exercise thing fell apart. This winter/spring, I’ve been getting back into a solid routine and have contemplated doing another half marathon in late June. Love the idea of running the Philadelphia marathon since I grew up in the Philly suburbs — Dimity, we could stay with my parents and carbo-load on food from the Italian Market just like before Dad Vails. 🙂

  6. Sunday, March 2nd…the day that I was to run my first marathon. My friend and I had chosen Little Rock, AR for my big day (she had ran her first a few years back before we were BRF’s). The medal was huge and so was our excitement. The day before the race we met fellow BAMRs Sarah and Dimity after a talk they gave, and I could not have been more pumped. The forcast was calling for rain, but I honestly prefer that over heat so it wasn’t going to dampen my spirits (pun intended). I kept telling myself that in (hopefully) less than 5 hours I would be a marathoner! Just after the 13.1 mile turn off…and during my moment of “I’ve never gone past this point in a race before” glee…the course was re-routed to to finish line due to a severe thunderstorm. I was crushed. I picked up the pieces of my broken soul as my friend and husband yelled “Let’s at least finish strong!”. My plan is to run St. Jude in Memphis in December, but running this Philadelphia race would be a dream!
    -BAMR of one (Lucy, 3) from Arkansas

  7. I am a 26 year old mom of 4 children,ages 2.5-7. I have been distance running for a year and a half and was able to meet my goal of running a half marathon at almost my 1 year running anniversary (it was a week later) Now my next step is a full marathon. This would be a fun event, near family that i have in PA and Id get some awesome cheerleaders to run with which is not something that happens often since I usually run alone in my town as im a military wife in a new town, no fellow running friends yet.

  8. Oh Mother! I am excited to throw my shoes into the ring! I am an Ohio Mother Runner of three boys (4,5 &6) and two years ago I completed my first Flying Pig Half! Loved it. But I did it gimping with an IT band issue. Since then I have paired up with a great strength training coach, but let the running slow down. I just registered for the inaugural Queen Bee women’s half in Cincinnati in October. I am plotting races through the summer to get me rolling. This would be such a great opportunity to grow and stretch myself. I lack the confidence to truly call myself a runner and completing 26.2 would stamp me a Mother Runner forever!

  9. I have a secret I have told no one until this moment: I’m thinking about running a marathon! So far, the rest of the world has only heard, “I love 13.1 and don’t feel the need to go any further yet.” After a painful stint in elementary XC then a 20+ year hiatus, I became a runner and a BAMR (of two awesome girls) at the same time in my 30s. As someone who has never been physically gifted, running has meant the world to me, proving that I can make myself stronger with every step. Philly 26.2 would be the perfect 37th birthday gift. When I can’t meet up with my BRFs, it’s most often you—Sarah & Dimity—that accompany me on my runs (pausing only to laugh). I live in AZ where I’m blessed with year-round running weather, a wonderful husband and two daughters who I see for the first time in the morning when I return from my run, an amazing career, and many friends and hobbies to fill the “free” time. I’m grateful for every day, and grateful for the possibility of this opportunity. Pick me! Pick me!

  10. I joined the military and did 13 years without ever running more than 4 miles. I got out and didn’t even consider running again until I decided to take charge of my ridiculous weight gain by exercising and eating healthy. I adopted a baby in 2009 and it suddenly occurred to me this year, that if I didn’t do something soon, I’d miss out on much of his childhood activities and playtime. I am also concerned that I won’t live long enough to see him grow up. I chose running as my lifestyle choice. I’ve lost 30 pounds and am running a half marathon in three weeks. I still have about 60 pounds to lose and would love to have the success of a marathon for the first time at age 47! I live in Woodbridge, VA and I would be forever indebted to you guys if you would run beside me and cheer me on. It’s been a lonely road so far and some additional motivation would be awesome.

  11. I need a challenge. I have completed 2 half marathons with the last one 2 years ago. Since then, I have been run/walking off & on. If I have a goal & some help, I can complete a task. I did Zooma Texas in 2012 with an awesome mentor who kept me on track. I’m turning 42 later this year & would love to have another motivation/challenge. I have 2 boys (7 & 4) & a hubby with a crazy work schedule. I have done runs up to 9 miles pushing my boys. I know that I need to work on speed, but I have time to do that, if I am chosen for this. I have never run/walked a marathon & would love this opportunity. I would love this opportunity to be able to tell friends & family that I’m going to run a marathon….this would solidify the fact that I’m a little bonkers in my later years…lol!! I’m in Texas & have a gym in my neighborhood where I can dreadmill/elliptical/lift weights to help the training. I have some great running ladies in the area that I can reach out to for some help….PLEASE CHOOSE ME!!!

  12. Taking a deep breath, I posted this as my Facebook status earlier today: “Rhetorical question to self, “Why is it that my mother and father are able to cause so much emotional pain like no other?” It is difficult to not let their lack of support throughout my entire life steal my joy.”

    I struggle with anger, presently working on defining and maintaining healthy boundaries. Growing up in a situation with divorced parents that indulged in their own sorrows and needs, they ignored my need for stability – both physical and emotional. Mom moved us countless times and I frequently changed schools, which made it impossible to be consistent in any school activity or sport…or friendships for that matter. I have struggled with anorexia, substance abuse, and the aftermath of physically and sexually abusive relationships. I have enjoyed journaling, playing instruments, and creating art as positive alternatives to substance abuse that “numbed” the pain away, but NOTHING else has satisfied me like RUNNING. I run to accomplish what I could not and did not…I run to inspire my two young children…I run to take care of this body God gave me. When I race, I consider myself a true athlete in that I want to beat my own records and beat my odds. I envision pushing past all the negativity and painful things that have not only involved myself, but also empathize with other runners yearning to cope with and overcome their struggles, as well.

    My name is Amy. I am 32 years old and I am from Kentucky. I have completed several 5K’s, two half marathons (3rd is on April 19th), and I run 5-6 days a week along with strength/core training. By this fall, I believe I will be more than ready to take on a full marathon. Running as a parallel to life, it is more pleasant when having encouraging friends along the way.

  13. After beating cancer 4 years ago, I thought nothing would hurt more than that battle. 18 months ago, my fiance decided he was done with our relationship, and I was left homeless, miles from family and friends, with nothing but my children and my car. Since the day I left, I’ve found a steady job, lost 65 pounds, paid off a LOT of debt, taken my kids to Disneyland without using a single credit card, and I am buying a house in the next few months.

    In the past four months, running has been my escape. My “me time”. The way I quiet those voices in my head that keep telling me I can’t do it and I should stop trying. I will be running my first half in about 4 months.

    The Philadelphia Marathon (and training with either of you ladies!) would just be the crowning glory in my journey to prove to myself that if I put my mind to it, I can accomplish absolutely anything I want to. And I want to do this more than anything.

  14. I have done things this past year I never thought possible! I started running right at a year ago, six weeks post-partum c-section. My first goal was to complete a mile any way I could. I then worked my way up and on July 25, 2013, I ran 6 miles without stopping for the first time ever! I knew nothing about running – at the time I thought I shouldn’t go less miles than what I had previously accomplished. So when my hip acted up, I knew I needed some running advice. After trying to read two extremely scientific (boring) running books, I was ready for a better read – and your books were just that! You guys put a fire under me and I jumped on the opportunity to join your AMR Prove-It Half Challenge! My half is scheduled May 10, 2014 and I am so ready to prove it to myself!! I have run four 5Ks and one 10K. I have three amazing children and an awesome husband! I currently live in Manhattan, KS, but will be moving next month to Tiffin, OH. I would love the opportunity to run my first full marathon with one of you in Philadelphia!

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