What are some of the qualities—and accompanying stories—we love about #motherrunners?
INSPIRATION: She sparks others to lace up.
CONNECTION: Her nickname might be #motherrunner Pied Piper.
DILIGENCE: She's the type that just.gets.it.done.
GRACE: Her running isn't always lovely, but her attitude is.
B*D*ASSERY: She launches herself out of her comfort zone.
FLEXIBILITY: Her life meanders but her home is always on the road.
CONSISTENCY: Streaks are easy; rest days are torture.
Our August Many Happy Miler of the Month, Heidi Mischel, was nominated by BAMRbassador, Christine Duran-Garcia.
Christine said, "Heidi has been crushing 2020 with well over 700 miles in the first six months. She has been extremely consistent in her efforts, all while balancing parenting and life in Corona times. She actively shares her experiences in Many Happy Miles, inspiring others and participates in community conversations!"
Our July Train Like a Mother Athlete of the Month, Abbie McKee, was nominated by fellow Train Like a Mother participant, Kat Schjei.
Kat explained, "Abbie is a shining member of the Ultra Train Like a Mother group. Even though her race was cancelled, she's still out getting massive training runs done (safely!). She's always positive and uplifting to those in the group."
Our July Many Happy Miler of the Month, April Hopkins, was nominated by BAMRbassador,Jenn Halliez.
Jenn said, "April is a constant cheerleader in Many Happy Miles. She shares her personal accomplishments, which inspire others. She always has a friendly comment or words of encouragement. This combination of leading by example - by doing the work and being there for others, makes her an outstanding member of our community!"
Our July Train Like a Mother Athlete of the Month, Ginny Erickson Ebben, was nominated by fellow Train Like a Mother participant, Cynthia Vissers.
Cynthia explained, "Ginny is very encouraging of other women and posts fun and positive messages! (For example: big chalk finish line to "run" across? Why didn't we all think of that awesome fun?!) She has been a big boost to the group during this trying time."
Ginny running across her #AMRlovetherun virtual 5K finish line.
Our June Many Happy Miler of the Month, Karyn Senita, was nominated by BAMRbassador, Jenn Halliez.
Jenn said, "Karyn was a team leader for April's Many Happy Miles Team Challenge and throughout the entire month, she was a true cheerleader! I believe she is a single mom to an adopted 4-year-old and she shared with us how she made it work each day to get in her workout. All the while encouraging us to work out and earn points for our team! Her can-do attitude is inspiring to our community!"
Pam explained, "Sam was scheduled to run her first marathon this spring in hometown of Manchester (UK). When that was canceled due to Covid, she made plans to run it herself on her favorite long run route. When that became too crowded to run safely, she planned 9 loops of a 3 mile course next to her home. Sam ran the marathon and came in under her B goal! Her husband manages a grocery store and with Covid, he's been gone constantly. Yet she still kept training and achieved her goal!"
Our May Many Happy Miler of the Month, Linda Collins, was nominated by BAMRbassador, Laurel Short.
Laurel said, "Despite have a busy schedule as an ob-gyn, Linda is always creative about getting her workouts in and trying new activities. Her openness in sharing about her experiences and inviting others to join group exercise (live and virtual) is extremely motivating!"
Our May Train Like a Mother Athlete of the month, Amy Rans, was nominated by fellow Train Like a Mother Club Heart + Sole participant, Racheal Pettigrew.
Racheal explained, "Amy had a long run scheduled as part of her training and knew she was going to be on vacation in Arizona that weekend. She signed up for a half there and “accidentally” set a PR, even though she wasn’t “racing!" It was so fun to hear about her exciting experience! She is a true #BAMR!"
Our April Many Happy Miler of the Month, Caiti Ertz, was nominated by BAMRbassador, Courtney Ebel.
Courtney said, "Caiti is so positive and very engaged in Many Happy Miles. She starts many great conversations on both the Facebook group and the Many Happy Miles app! She adds positivity and kindness to our community!"
Our April Train Like a Mother Athlete of the month, Kate Klein, was nominated by fellow Train Like a Mother participant, Jill Maxey.
Jill explained, "I’ve had the privilege of being in two Train Like a Mother programs with Kate. She is always praising everyone for their hard work and giving kudos on tough workouts. She’s crushing a new to her distance and a champion in her own right. If I lived closer I’d definitely want to hang out with her and be friends in person, not just online."
Our March Many Happy Miler of the Month, Kathy Bray was nominated by BAMRbassador, Lynne Garcia.
Lynn said, "Kathy is the epitome of a BAMR - always supportive, kind and encouraging of others. A working mom of two grown sons, she is a great example of how to fit in exercise while holding down a very demanding career!"
Our March Train Like a Mother Athlete of the month, Jessica Brock-Pitts, was nominated by fellow Ultra program participant.
Her nominator noted that, "Jessica is always offering suggestions for training gear, giving words of affirmation to women in the group, and dedicates herself to her training! She is also thoughtful about how the training fits into her life."
Stacey was nominated by a high school classmate, Shana, who raves about Kim: "Stacey puts the "badass" in BAMR! She was the first of my friends to have a baby just a few weeks after her 23 birthday. A single Mom, Stacey raised her beautiful, smart, and sweet daughter Madison all on her own.
She started running in the mid-2000s to keep in shape but I'm sure it provided the stress relief she needed at the same time. A few years ago, she challenged herself to run 16 races in 2016, then 17 races in 2017 and 18 races in 2018. The day after Christmas in 2019, Stacey lost her father after a long illness. However, in warrior fashion, Stacey channeled her grief into running and went on to finish the Dopey Challenge in 2019 just a few weeks after the funeral!
I am in awe of my wonderful friend, a newly married, long-time single working mother with a fast-paced career and still getting it done. She keeps me motivated and holds me accountable and I just appreciate her friendship so very much."
Debra Helfand, a fellow BAMR, nominated Kim.
Check out Debra's testimonial to Kim's contagiousness:
I first met Kim when she was visiting New York City in the fall of 2018; we met up for a humid run in Central Park. I ran NYC in 2017 and had no plans to ever run another marathon, but Kim talked me into running the 2019 Chicago Marathon, which was incredible. For 2020, Kim and Lucy and I are going to run the Bayshore Marathon together in May, and in September, Kim and I are running Berlin. It's been so much fun training alongside her, even though we're thousands of miles apart.
So yeah, I went from one-and-done to two marathons in a single year. That’s how infectious Kim’s enthusiasm is. The real miracle, though, is how she has inspired me to come out of my introvert’s shell to put myself out there in the BAMR community and take on these adventures.
If you’d told me 8 years ago when I first started running that I would be traveling the world to run, I wouldn’t have believed you.
Valerie, a fellow Kansas City #motherrunner, nominated Laurel after the two met at the kick-off for Race Like a Mother: Kansas City.
"We made plans to do our long training runs together, and I was hopeful to have a marathoner help me, the novice. We kept in touch with each other and our training via text through the summer, and when the longer runs popped on the schedule, Laurel appeared like an angel," says Valerie, "She checked out routes for us and set up meeting points. She coached me through the long runs (and the long, humid 20-miler that almost had me in tears), and she was there on race day, too, with her upbeat attitude and contagious smile. Her reassuring words via texts, after a training run and during the marathon carried me to the finish line."
Alli nominated herself for the award ("One of my words for 2019 is brave,"), and once we read more, we knew we had to share her perspective.
"I believe in the power of movement. It goes beyond the physical benefits. We #motherrunners talk about it all the time: the mental boost, the feeling like we are the best version of ourselves when we run," she says, "And the idea that something transcends the physical is the heart of art. The power of good art is so much more than the physical parts that make it up. When we move, we are changed. When we are changed, we inspire others to change!"
Amy Landes, a nurse and mother of three kids (ages 24, 21, and 19) in St. Louis, Missouri, was nominated by her older sister, Melanie.
"In May of 2018, my sister set a new PR in the Illinois Marathon, winning the master’s division in 3:03.35. She was 46," Melanie wrote, "Three months later, she stopped running, and entered recovery for a 15-year eating disorder. She courageously faced her disease—and gave up her beloved activity of running—because she knew she needed to be a mother first, and that continuing her disorder was killing her.
Amy exemplifies courage, strength, and a driving love for her children, making her the #motherrunner I admire most."
We reached out to Melanie to make sure Amy was ok with talking publically about her illness, and despite a recent relapse, she was.
Clara Ashwood, our July recipient, embodies the maternal instinct in so many ways. Not only is Clara, 41, a preschool program director and teacher at Summers-Knoll School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but she also runs a mile twice a week before school with all interested students, and organizes the school's annual 5K. Plus, she works at Running Fit and is a mom to Houdini, a 12-year-old beagle who still likes to run with her occasionally.
In her nomination, her co-worker and friend Rachel recounted Clara's deep enthusiasm for the sport and the running family, adding, "On a personal level, she is also a dear friend who constantly celebrates my victories and supports me when the runs get hard or when I am hurt."
June 2019: Sarah Moore-Noakes
Sarah was nominated by her sister Judith. "Sarah's the one who got me running," says Judith, "and I know I’m not the only one. Plus, around the time she turned 40, she discovered she has a genetic heart disorder. She travels with an AED and writes 'shock me if I'm down' on the back of all her bibs!"
Sarah: "I was formally diagnosed with Longs QT Syndrome three days before I was scheduled to run in a relay marathon. It was one of those moments where everything changed and nothing changed at all.
Running that race and not dying got me over a huge mental obstacle. But I'd be lying if I said I don't still think about it all the time and make all sorts of mental calculations about my runs."
May 2019: Hilary Rasmussen + Jen-Fisker Anderson
When Hilary Rasmussen wrote in to nominate Jen-Fisker Anderson, her BRF (best running friend), we had to pause because it felt like these Seattle-based BRFs, long-time runners who are both moms to neurodiverse kids, both deserved the award. We're sure you'll agree!
"Jen and I met at church about 8 years ago. I didn't really know anyone else there. Thankfully somehow Jen and I somehow connected, discovered we both liked running and talked about it ad nauseam.
In 2015, I asked Jen if she could fill a spot on a team I was running with that summer—and the rest is history."
April 2019: Rachel Pieh Jones
Congrats to our third Mother Runner of the Month: Rachel Pieh Jones, who currently lives in Djibouti, Djibouti.
Rachel, a 41-year-old mother of learned to love running in Djibouti and realized that not only is running a great ex-pat activity, it gave her the courage to start Girls Run 2, an amazing program that helps local girls run, race, and get an education, while also developing character and building community.
"I love the way running has rooted me to this place. I know the streets, the buildings and the shade they cast, the desert, the ocean, the sunrise, the heat, the call to prayer from the various mosques, the neighbors. I know the distances and the potholes, the effect of temperatures, the faces of others out early in the morning, the wild parrots, the scent of jasmine in the springtime. Running has imprinted Djibouti into my very bones."
March 2019: Julia Miller
Congrats to our second Mother Runner of the Month: Julia Miller of Madison, Wisconsin. Julia, an (almost) 43-year-old mother of three has run 21 half-marathons and six marathons and is also an AMR BAMRbassador.
But that's not why her running + karate friend, Danielle, nominated her: "Why I feel she is truly deserving and such a rare breed is her vulnerability. She talks about her sucky choices and acknowledges her impressive milestones and wins. When I hear or read about her rough weeks, it normalizes my tough weeks and encourages me to accept my past and move forward. It happens to all of us, but she is real about it. She is a badass, and a mother, and a runner, and a martial artist, and a role model of mine."
February 2019: Gina Halvorson
We’re thrilled today to announce our first winner of the Mother Runner of the Month: Gina Halvorson of Lockport, Illinois. Gina, a 35-year-old mother of two who works in recruiting, started running in January of 2018, truly fell in love with the sport, and is about to take on her first half-marathon.
When we told her about her award, she wrote back, “Running has honestly been such a game changer for me, so the more I can talk about it and network with other runners, I am happy to do so!”
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