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Mother Runners of the Month: Kathy Bray + Jess Brock-Pitts

We had a ball profiling our Mother Runners of the Month in 2019. Because we have a hard time sitting still (you too?), we are morphing the program in 2020 just a bit to profile and celebrate two athletes monthly in our #motherrunnner community.

One athlete participates in our Many Happy Miles program and the other one is in a Train Like a Mother Club program: nothing like vicariously living through workout specifics, training cycles, and upcoming races, right?

More importantly, they both epitomize the traits that keep us all moving forward: perspective, diligence, badassery, flexibility, and grit.

Many Happy Miler of the Month - Kathy Bray


Location: Duluth, MN 

Kids: Two sons, ages 21 and 24, two cats + one dog

What's your running story?
It’s still being written … but started with high school cross-country in a small town in South Dakota where I was first introduced to the camaraderie of running the roads and trails.

In my mid-30’s, I found my way back to running again, racing the local half marathon for many years, and the occasional 5K here and there. I spent my time running after kids and their activities during their middle school and high school years rather than running my own miles.

As I moved into the empty nest phase of life, running has proven to be a loyal friend, and was waiting for me. I tackled my “one and done” marathon the year I turned 50 (confession: the medal made me do it!), and I increasingly appreciate the importance and simple pleasure of running with gratitude and joy.

Why did you join Many Happy Miles?
Another Mother Runner has resonated with me ever since I read Run Like a Mother almost a decade ago! AMR’s training programs and virtual community have seen me through many miles.

When MHM was introduced in 2019, the flexible mix of running and other workouts to promote consistency throughout the year was appealing. The program has been great motivation to keep me moving forward for even 15 minutes when time doesn’t allow for a “full” workout or run, and the periodic guest contributor workshops have provided insight into matters that have had applicability to not only running, but also work and home.

The best part, though, has been the community -- women runners lifting each other up, reminding each other to enjoy the mile they’re in, and then pulling each other along when life gets in the way.

Best workout in Many Happy Miles so far:
Really hard to pick just one, because Many Happy Miles is all about variety! I appreciate the tempo runs that remind me to vary the leg turnover rate a bit. And I have to give a nod to the 2019 #CelebrationCircuit, that very first strength circuit has been my “go to” when I need to squeeze in a quick workout.

Hardest workout in Many Happy Miles so far:
Anything with a reverse plank (I just lay on the ground until that minute passes …)

Upcoming races?
Next up is Get In Gear 10K in Minneapolis.

When I run, I feel: Grateful.

Train Like a Mother Club Athlete of the Month Jess Brock-Pitts


Location: West Deptford, NJ

Kids: Two boys

What's your running story?
I started running when I was in my mid-twenties. My teen years were consumed by addiction, but I got clean and sober at the age of twenty.

After a few years in recovery I started working out while studying at Temple University. I didn't really know what to do in a gym, but they had an indoor track, so I would go run on it. One day I saw an ad for the SheRox triathlon. I didn't really bike, or swim, and only ran a little bit, but I trained hard, and completed my first tri there.

I threw my guts up in the trashcan at the finish line and went home with a sense of pride and accomplishment. I had never, ever in my life thought of myself as an athlete until then.

After my kids reached the toddler years, I started to make a more consistent return. I ran a half marathon and eventually I started doing some obstacle course races, which led me to trail running. I fell in love with it: the hills, the scenery, the challenge, going out and getting lost af in the woods. This was my JAM!

I ran a 25k, two 50k races, and then after healing from a stress fracture I finished Philly Marathon using a Train Like a Mother program and enjoyed the support, the challenge, and the variety of runs. It got me well across the finish line!

Why did you join the Ultra 50 Mile program?
I had a great run with the Train Like a Mother Marathon Plan. I do a lot of cross training, and teach group fitness, and found that I was able to incorporate everything. I never felt like I was overtraining, and felt prepared at race day. I knew I wanted to follow a plan, rather than build my own (as I often have done in the past), and the TLAM 50 Mile program looked very do-able for me.

Best workout in Ultra 50 Mile so far: A very rainy run with my husband where we were splashing along through the trail for most of the run. It was one of the most fun runs I've had so far!

Hardest workout in Ultra 50 Mile so far: A 16 miler that was just mentally tough.

Goal Race: Dirty German 50 Mile, Philadelphia, PA on May 9

Goal for the Race: Literally just to finish.

When I run, I feel: STRONG!

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