Mothers In Motion
by Lisa Unger
At of the end of April 2002, GWTC had 711 members represented by 407 memberships. That means for each membership there could be one, two and often more additional family members who run. It is vital that the club recognize and even cater to families that run because today’s members who are children are tomorrow’s memberships. Fortunately, GWTC does offer quite a few benefits for families and facilitates whole families participating in the sport of running. Most of the road races offer Fun Runs or Kids’ One-Mile events that are a blast to watch–or participate in with your kids. Just ask Lisa Whitworth, proud mother of Katie who was third in her age group at the prestigious Gate to Gate One-Mile event on Memorial Day. The Grand Prix and Summer Track Series also have special categories for children. Recently, Tallahassee hosted a Kids’ Triathlon thanks to the hard work of the Wright family. The Wright’s (three generations of them!) also organize the annual Breakfast on the Track event which is very kid-friendly. Kids can participate with clubs such as the Capital City Christian Cruisers or other organizations, and many Middle schools now offer “cross-country” or “track” programs. All of the area’s High schools offer a running program. Some are better than others, but the opportunity exists at all.
To continue in the direction of family oriented material, a series of essays are being prepared focusing on women’s running and the effect that running has on women and their families. While it is important to remember that fathers are the other half of the family equation and are not to be forgotten, much of the child-rearing role does fall on the mothers. There will be some material pertaining to the role fathers, but most of the “Mothers In Motion” essays will cover a broad spectrum of issues dealing with how running relates to maternity, parenthood and family life style in general. The essays are not intended to offer professional medical advice so any medically related questions should be discussed with a doctor. However, our club has many mothers who all have thoughts, ideas, memories and most of all, experience, to share. The essays will be drawn from what these mothers have to say, as well as research from sources such as Runner’s World and exercise books.
For the purpose of these essays, any woman who runs for any reason at all will be considered an athlete. Runner’s World published a list of 40 things a woman runner should know and number 11 was, ” A woman runner should consider herself an athlete, whether she’s fast or slow, tall or short, small or large.” Therefore, these essays will adopt a similar viewpoint of athleticism. The concept of women as athletes is relatively modern but the number of women who run has dramatically increased in the past three decades. Society’s acceptance of women running has been slow in coming, but finally women are being taken seriously–even mothers who run. Did you know that while Roberta Gibbs was the first woman to finish the Boston marathon in 1966 there was not an “official” women’s winner until 1978 when Nina Kuscsik, mother of three, ran the marathon in 3:10:26? Because it is interesting to look back, some history will be explored and hopefully give perspective for current topics.
There are countless ideas about the relationship between running and families. Hopefully, the Mothers In Motion essays will discuss some of the ideas that are most important to GWTC’s membership and the newsletter readers. If you would like to share your experiences, or have a topic that you would like researched, please contact Lisa Unger at UNGERT@prodigy.net.