On Sunday, May 8, it’s Mother’s Day and the annual Run Like A Mother race in Ridgefield. Since 2008, Run Like A Mother has been a national 5K race which celebrates women on Mother’s Day.
Megan Searfoss, the founder of Run Like A Mother, has been a runner for thirty years. One day, after her first child was born in 1992, she stepped outside for twenty minutes, ran around the block, and inhaled some fresh air to step away from her busyness. She realized that doing this for herself every day cleared her mind and it became a habit.
“It’s amazing what your mind can do if it’s just you, your breath, and your heartbeat outside,” says Searfoss.
The idea to start Run Like A Mother simmered after she ran with other mothers one Mother’s Day. About forty women showed up and it was so much fun. About six weeks before Mother’s Day, the next year, she decided to turn a simple pastime into an official 5K race including volunteers, sponsors, and signups. By this time, Megan was a competitive athlete, but she had never organized a race. Over 500 women attended the first year. With such success, Run Like A Mother was born. Searfoss saw a need for mothers to be cheered and celebrated for all the work they do and to have time to focus on themselves, no one else.
“Too often we don’t take time for ourselves,” says Searfoss.
For Run Like A Mother, one can walk or run. It doesn’t matter. It’s not a competitive race. During the race, the only person women are in competition with is themselves. Women feel a sense of accomplishment and exhilaration to cross the finish line, to know that they challenged themselves a little more than their comfort zones on an average day.
Run Like A Mother 2022
Run Like A Mother will take place rain or shine on Mother’s Day. Children can also run a one-mile race before the event. Contrary to the title, one does not have to be a mother to participate; they can support one (but only women can enter). Women can run in-person in Ridgefield or they can participate in the race virtually. For the last two years, Run Like A Mother has been a virtual race. Women run a 5K race in their communities and various states and post selfies later. They run alone or with mothers’ groups, family, or friends. This shared experience unifies women. It also shows children the importance of health and wellness at any age. Women who race virtually receive a grab bag with a t-shirt, medal, race bib, and tote bag. Runners at the event in Ridgefield also receive a cheer poster that kids can decorate for race day provided by Karla Murtaugh from Compass in Ridgefield and iris flowers at the finish line provided by The Iris Fund. Proceeds will go to the Ridgefield Library and will support the Iris Fund.
The funds help mothers. Through this race, The Ridgefield Library created the NLP: Mothers Live Your Life Series in honor of Noreen L. Papa, Searfoss’ dear friend, a mother of four, who passed away in 2013 from colon cancer. This health programming teaches mothers to take care of themselves so they can take care of others.
The Iris Fund is an organization that wishes to understand the cause of pre-term birth so that it can be prevented. The Iris Fund was created in memory of Iris Crystal Aleman who was born prematurely and passed away in 2017. Her parents, Brittney and Jose Aleman, wished to understand the causes of pre-term birth and how to prevent it, but they couldn’t find the answers, so they set up this fund to research to help more families. Brittany and Jose are local residents who hope that one day pre-mature births will no longer occur. Fifteen million babies are born pre-maturely worldwide and the numbers are growing. One million of those babies die from complications from being preemies. Prematurity is the leading cause of death in newborns and the second leading cause of death in children under the age of five.
Success and Self Care
Searfoss never imagined this journey. In 1992, as a new mom, she became a runner. In 2008, she founded Run Like A Mother. In 2014, she created the Ridgefield Running Company. In 2014, her book, See Mom Run: Every Mother’s Guide to Getting Fit and Running Her First 5K launched. Then, she opened the Darien Running Company and now, her companies not only offer running gear, but also training to prepare for races such as Run Like A Mother. Today, she has completed nine Ironman triathlons and Run Like A Mother attracts thousands each year from a 60-mile radius.
Over the years, Searfoss has seen women transform from running the race from losing weight to running half marathons subsequently, but the icing on the cake for her, was seeing that so many women finally realized the importance of prioritizing time for themselves.
Searfoss encourages everyone to come to cheer on moms at the race. So often mothers are on the sidelines supporting everyone else; this event puts the spotlight on mothers. No matter if women can attend the event this year, Searfoss urges everyone to go outside every day and move. Simply moving the body daily can have tremendous health benefits. If one can raise the heartbeat to an endurance pace where one can have a conversation while exercising, it benefits the heart and lungs and also builds muscle. For women, any type of exercise that is weight bearing such as strength training and running is essential to maintaining strong bones. Also, moving improves our mood which makes us a better person.
“Too often we go, we’ll do it tomorrow,” says Searfoss. “We’ll start it tomorrow… but it really just starts with the one step out the door.”
For more about Run Like A Mother, visit: https://zoomarun.com/run-like-a-mother-5k
Visit The Iris Fund: www.theirisfund.org
The Noreen L. Papa Fund and the NLP: Mothers Live Your Life Series: ridgefieldlibrary.org •