Huge shout out to the 50+ BAMRs who sent in “Why I Want to Run Ragnar Alafia” essays! We laughed. We cried. Mostly, though, we marveled at how great this community is. We started crying when we realized we had to pick just seven mother runners (+ an alternate). But choose we did. Here’s our team:
Kristen Knowles, 42, Maple Grove, Minn.
Number of Kids + Ages: 2 boys, ages 11 and 9
My Motivation for Running: For my own mental health, it helps keep me balanced both mentally and physically.
Thing I'm Most looking forward to at Ragnar Alafia: Besides escaping Minnesota in December? I’m looking forward to meeting new people and experiencing a new landscape….not sure what to expect of the trails in Florida but I’m guessing they’re quite different from the trails up here in the Northwoods.
Thing I’m Most Scared of: GATORS!!! Will there be alligators? Seriously, I need to know!
Amy Ebeid, 40, Fairfax, Virginia
Number of Kids + Ages: 2 boys ages 7 and 5
My Motivation for Running: My motivation for running is to feel strong and alive. I am a 12-year breast cancer survivor and I run to feel safe and in control of my body even so many years later. I complain during my runs like any one else, but I really love feeling my muscles work and my body become activated. It motivates me every time because it reminds me that I am HERE and I get to move my body this way. I love how I feel after a run, calm and present and grounded, which is so important as a wife and a mom of two boys. They get the real, true, happy me after I run. What could be more motivating than that?
Thing I'm Most looking forward to at Ragnar Alafia: I've done one Ragnar trail (Richmond) and I absolutely loved it. So here's to the next one! My birthday is December 5, so this is a crazy present to myself as I turn 41. I'm excited (and terrified) for the challenge and to see what I can do. I'm used to the comfort of my best running friends and this will be so new to just be plopped into a team I don't know. This feels like an adventure especially when I'm out of my comfort zone. And I'm really looking forward to not seeing any snakes or alligators and returning to VA in one piece
Tami Brigle, 31, Edon (no that's not a typo), Ohio
Number of Kids + Ages: Kenlee, 6, and Archer, 9 months
My Motivation for Running: My original running motivation was weight loss; I lost more than 100 pounds after the birth of my daughter. Today? I primarily run for my mental/emotional wellbeing and I'd be lying if I didn't say I want to eventually drop these pesky 30 pounds of baby weight from No. 2!
Thing I'm Most looking forward to at Ragnar Alafia: I am so looking forward to feeling wild and free on the trails! I know it's going to be tough (especially for someone who hates hills!) but I will just remind myself to be grateful because at least I won't be strapped to my couch like last year, nursing an injury or a baby 24/7. (Though I'll probably be THAT MOM who needs to pack her breast pump!)
Heather McLaughlin Merath (and sometimes known as Dunworth), 47, Alameda, California
Number of Kids + Ages: Michaela, 20, and Drake, 7.
My Motivation for Running: To keep me mentally, physically and spiritually balanced. I feel free when I am running and I feel the most complete being swept away by my own feet.
Thing I'm Most looking forward to at Ragnar Alafia: I look forward to running with a group of women in a race that is like no race I have ever done!!!
Betsy Hegan, 45, Jacksonville, Florida
Number of Kids + Ages: Two boys, ages 13 and 16
My Motivation for Running: See Number of Kids + Ages.
Ok, for real. Why do I run? Because sometimes the only way the clear my head, reset my compass, and find just a little bit of grace is to put on my running shoes and feel, even if it's just for 5 or 10 or 15 miles, a little bit like the badass I imagine myself to be.
Thing I'm Most looking forward to at Ragnar Alafia: What's NOT to look forward to?? Doesn't everyone have "Camp out with 7 complete & total strangers for a weekend while running a lot of trail miles where there might be snakes but there could be a lot laughter, too" on their bucket list?! Oh, and headlamps. I've always kind of wanted a reason to wear a headlamp.
Rose Moore, 36, Springfield, Virginia (right outside DC)
Number of Kids and Ages: Chloe, 7.
My Running Motivation: I run for my mental and physical health. It has helped me overcome indescribable grief after the passing of my 3 day old preemie newborn and fights the stress and sometimes anxiety that has come since then. I run so that I have energy for my daughter too.
Thing I'm Most looking forward to at Ragnar Alafia: I am looking forward to exploring the trails in Florida and meeting more BAMRs! I love being on Ragnar teams with strangers that then become family. I have a feeling this team is going to be in my life for a long time.
(Not pictured, yet, is Dana Setting -- but she is officially on the team!)
And Our Alternate: Melissa Fenton, 44 (for another few weeks), Dade City, Florida
Number of Kids and Ages: 4 sons, ages 19, 17, 13, 10
My Running Motivation: My running motivation is the fact I live for baked goods, and running helps a great deal with anxiety and the stresses of raising all men.
Thing I'm Most looking forward to at Ragnar Alafia: I am most looking forward to meeting mother runners from around the country who are brave enough to come tackle a Florida trail! (And happy they are coming in December, when the weather is perfection.)