Mothers In Motion

By Lisa Unger

More GWTC Role Models

One of the prominent functions of GWTC is to encourage youth running and there are many opportunities for young people to participate in the sport through the club. Just being with their running parents and around other runners at events can positively influence children. Some GWTC mothers have offered their experiences and observations of their own children that solidify how running, exercise and a healthy lifestyle help children grow stronger, healthier and even smarter.

Lisa Whitworth absolutely believes that running before, during and after her pregnancy had a positive effect on her daughter, Katie (5). Katie has already started emulating her mom and dad by running (and placing) in several one mile events and also in the Summer Track Series. Katie was third in her age group at the Gate to Gate event on Memorial Day, 2002. She is also the 2002 ‘6 and Under’ age group winner of the eight-week Summer Track Series. Already Katie shows such characteristics as self-discipline and perseverance as she manages to cover up to a mile at a time. For a 5-year old, a mile is a pretty daunting distance! Katie takes walk breaks when she needs them, but she always continues all the way through when other youngsters might just give up. Lisa notes that, “Katie runs well and she also has great coordination in ballet and tap. She has a great personality and does very well in her pre-school.” Katie exhibits strong social skills, is very creative, energetic and full of love. Lisa believes that running has helped Katie to develop these skills and personality traits and also her overall health.

Bonnie Wright’s son, Jamie (9), can often be seen at one-mile events and also participated in the Summer Track Series. Both Bonnie and Jamie’s dad, Felton, are well known GWTC members and positive models for Jamie, showing him that sports are fun. Jamie exhibits a great degree of sportsmanship and is a team player with lots of spirit. Jamie also swims, plays tennis and basketball. Jamie is involved in a series of YMCA sports such as soccer, baseball and football. Bonnie says Jamie is “begging to try more triathlons.” Like father, like son! Bonnie finds that compared to other children, Jamie has more aerobic capacity, and most importantly, is willing to try new things. Jamie enjoys playing and trying any sports game. Jamie is a well-behaved young man who really enjoys life. His parents’ example of running, exercising and participating in multiple sports has shown Jamie that exercising can be fun as well as good for you.

Connie Clarke is the mother of three children, Robbie (13), Alli (10) and Davis (8). All three run in varying degrees. Robbie has run, and won first place overall, in several one-mile runs and has placed in his first triathlon. Robbie has participated in the Summer Track Series and, according to his mom, prefers the shorter distances. Robbie is on an All-Star baseball team and Connie believes that running has helped him hone cooperation and other skills that allow him to be a good team player. Alli is a gymnast and has been the most consistent of the Clarke children runners. She enjoys participating in one-mile events and has won several. Alli also participated in the Summer Track Series, and recently has completed her first 5k in 30:30. Connie finds that Alli is very good at pacing herself, which may lead to great running and other accomplishments. Davis runs occasionally but is also a baseball player. Davis ran in the Rail to Trails one-mile event in 2002 after he had biked for 3 miles while his mom ran her warm up for the 5k. Maybe he’s a budding multi-sporter? Connie believes it is good for her children see her as an active woman who sets goals and works hard to achieve them. She tries to reflect a healthy lifestyle in hopes that her kids will see activity as the norm, instead of the typical couch potato/junkfood lifestyle that is so prevalent in today’s society. Connie says she is most proud of her children for trying their best in their endeavors and for their enthusiasm. She says, “I think running has helped (them accomplish this) in some degree. While I don’t push them to love my sport, I do encourage them and they do run with me at times just because I want them to. They have all learned to set goals in sports and learned that it takes hard work and persistence.”