RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- Ten years ago, when Megan Searfoss, a personal trainer, cycling and triathlon coach, first moved to Ridgefield, she was invited by a group of women to spend the morning of Mother's Day meeting for a group run. It proved to be such a powerful feeling of camaraderie that the next year she woke up thinking she needed to replicate that.
Nine years later, her 5K "Run Like A Mother" event is a nationwide movement with generations of families meeting at Ballard Park on Main Street. Runs, which cater to women of all levels and abilities, are also held in Phoenix, Ariz., Frisco, Texas, Raleigh, N.C., Milwaukee, Wisc. and Twin Cities, Minn. as well as virtually, with the goal to eventually add more cities.
The premise behind the event, which ends with a rose for each woman, is that, since we all run for our kids everyday, we have one day where our kids can watch us compete and cheer from the sidelines. "There's nothing better than seeing a line of children with signs saying, 'Go Mom!,'" said Searfoss. (Run Like A Mother supplies posterboard.)
Kids are invited to run (or walk) the last 40 yards with their moms. The day also includes a one mile race for children 12 and under.
According to Searfoss, it's meant to be an inspiring, celebratory family moment that engages women while also emphasizing healthy living by offering support, motivation, inspiration and education, not just on Mother's Day but throughout the year.
The Ridgefield event, her largest, generally attracts 2,000 athletes (kids and moms). In some cases it's new moms doing their first race post-baby; in other cases it's grandmothers. Last year one woman was 90-something (and yes, you're allowed to walk). "We have families that make a day of it and have been coming for years," said Searfoss.
That includes her own family -- three daughters, ages 23, 19 and 16, along with her husband -- who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make the day a success.
Running, said Searfoss, who owns Ridgefield Running Company , has helped her deal with the perpetual work/life balance she, like most moms, deal with daily, which is why she advocates exercise as a form of sanity. Added Searfoss: "The letters I get from women telling me how they've been inspired them to get moving is, for me, the greatest gift of all."
Registration closes when the run gets to capacity; sign up HERE .
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