Moms on the Run: Health, Confidence, and Encouragement through Running

You may have seen the logo around town on a purple sweatshirt or across the chest of a pink tank top of an Eau Claire Marathon participant: MOTR aka Moms on the Run. It easily could be the name of a sitcom or explanation for the harried driver you see in the lane beside you. And that double meaning explains a lot about the organization of women encouraging their fellow runners to keep a healthy outlook through all the facets of life they are juggling.

The Chippewa Valley chapter of Moms on the Run has officially been up and literally running for over five years with hundreds of women embracing their running journey.  MOTR offers year-round programming with three official seasons: Spring/Summer, Fall, and Winter Polar Running. Their signature eighteen-week spring/summer session starts again this coming April and culminates at the end of August with the group’s own 5k run and celebration.

The eighteen-week spring-summer session offers the most structure and support. MOTR classes include coaching, optional nutritional challenges, and running-specific strength training. They offer interval classes, endurance classes, and trail running groups. Interval classes include taking beginning runners (the Learn to Run group) from mostly walking to running a 5k at the end of the summer and offers intermediate runners a chance to work on speed, cardiovascular strength, breathing, form, and more.  Shelly Peters, one of the two EC Franchise Owners, notes, “Our groups have experienced coaches that help motivate and push each individual to the extent that they want/need. We believe that if you want to be a runner, you can be. We want every woman to feel empowered to take the steps to a healthy lifestyle, and we feel that exercise, accountability, and encouragement play a huge role in that.”

MOTR tries to help connect women in a way that helps them have fitness, fun, and friendship all in one. It also forces them, so to speak, to put class on their calendar and not just

“hope to fit it in.” Coaches follow up with women to make sure that their needs are being met and they are feeling connected to the group.  Peters elaborates, “One thing we take pride in at MOTR is that everyone is welcome and it is an encouraging, positive, no-judgment kind of group. We know that each woman has enough stress and battles in other areas, so we want MOTR to be a safe place where they can come just to be on the journey together.”

Women need to prioritize themselves and a healthy lifestyle. It can fortify you as a parent, being able to care for yourself first so you can then care for others. Tapping into your known strengths, or those you didn’t even know you had, can leave you feeling rejuvenated and joyful about the other responsibilities that make up your family’s fabric. After being involved in MOTR for several summers one participant wrote:

“I am continually in awe of the impact of MOTR because it is powerful, it is positive, and it really is changing women’s lives in more than just physical ways. When I think of the ripple effect through a family when a mom is healthy, confident, supported, and fierce in the belief in herself, it’s hard to comprehend the power of her positive influence on those around her. When I show up to class or to a race and stand in this sea of strong women, I can’t help but feel proud to be a part of it.”

Peters sums up the MOTR mission: “Our goal is to be women that are healthy, confident, and feel encouraged so that we can in turn encourage others along the journey that often feels like it is an uphill battle. Running connects us to ourselves, our neighbor, our city, and the outdoors at large.”

Check out this website to register for a program or for more information on the local and national group: www.momsonetherun.com.

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