Making strides: Local women reaching goals through running clubJenny Gregor wasn’t a runner. However, since joining the Moms on the Run running club just three months ago, she’s already completed one 5K and one 4-mile race.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, South Washington County Bulletin
Jenny Gregor wasn’t a runner. However, since joining the Moms on the Run running club just three months ago, she’s already completed one 5K and one 4-mile race.
“If you knew me before I joined, you wouldn’t believe it,” Gregor said. “I wasn’t the running type. I just didn’t like it and didn’t want to do it.”
Gregor, 27, lives in Woodbury. After giving birth to her son, J.T., who is now 11 months old, Gregor’s husband Robert was deployed to Kuwait with the military. During her pregnancy and the seven months Robert was overseas, Gregor said she “didn’t do much.” However, when Robert returned from duty, Gregor decided it was time to take care of herself.
“I wasn’t out there and exercising,” she said. “I wanted to work out and do better than I ever have in my life before. I’ve never ran, but I thought this would be a great opportunity. I’ve discovered that it really is fun.”
Karissa Johnson started Moms on the Run out of Forest Lake in 2008. The program is geared toward the novice and intermediate runner and teaches women how to run their first 5K, but also works with more seasoned runners to improve their speed and endurance.
Now in its fifth year, the Moms on the Run program serves more than 500 runners in 14 Twin Cities locations, and is spreading through south Washington County. Moms on the Run has operated in Woodbury for the past two years, a site opened in Hastings this past April and the plan is for a new site to open in Cottage Grove in 2013.
Tracy Yoder brought Moms on the Run site to Hastings this spring. She has 25 women in her group – mostly from Hastings, Woodbury and Cottage Grove.
She said she wants everyone to know about Moms on the Run and said now is the best time to sign up for the fall sessions.
“Our women are doing such an amazing job with this program,” Yoder said. “Anybody can do this. We start, basically, from nothing. They work their way up and are able to finish their first 5K race. I just think that’s so inspiring.”
Women interested in Moms on the Run can sign up for a 2-day-a-week or 3-day-a-week program. The runners meet at a park in town for one-hour sessions that combine stretching, interval running and core training for the most part. Runners can also train at neighboring sites if they miss a session for whatever reason.
A Hastings resident, Yoder participated in the program in Apple Valley, when she decided Hastings needed to be a Moms on the Run location as well. Yoder said she signed up with Moms on the Run despite very little running experience, but the program helped train her for her first 10K and improved her times on her 5K runs, too.
“I think Moms on the Run is really good about opening our doors to everyone and saying ‘you can do this and you’re accepted’,” Yoder said. “Wherever you are, or if you have a fitness background or not, we can help you. You can be a runner.”
One doesn’t have to be a mom to join the program, but a unique benefit of Moms on the Run is women are encouraged to bring their kids along if they want or need to.
Gregor’s husband Robert is a firefighter and he works 24 hour shifts. When he’s working, Gregor brings T.J. to the sessions and pushes him in a stroller when she runs. When Gregor finished her first 5K, T.J. was there the whole time.
“It’s something I never thought I could do or would do,” Gregor said. “I was proud of myself that I finished it. It felt great. My son was there with me the whole time, too. He slept, though, so he wasn’t too excited.”
Gregor said being part of a group with similar lifestyles and goals is helpful.
“Not everybody is a mom, but some are,” Gregor said. “It’s just really nice to have a support group of people that help you keep going. It gives you more self-confidence to know you can do something. It’s also nice because we can talk about everything from pregnancy to kids. Pregnancy is hard on the body and we talk about what we can do to help that.”
Twin sisters push each other
For their entire lives, twin sisters Rebecca Hornes and Renee Wasylishin have done a ton of things together – but running wasn’t one of them.
“Neither of us has ever really been into running,” Hornes said. “I always wanted to actually run. This was a good chance to do that. I’ve never liked running before, but now I do.”
Both residents of Cottage Grove, Hornes and Wasylishin joined Moms on Run in Hastings last May. Together, they are training for their first-ever 5K – the Lady Speed Stick 5K at the end of August.
Wasylishin said having the support of her sister and the group has made an impact.
“If I would have tried to run by myself, I don’t think I would have stuck with it,” she said.
The twin sisters are also both moms.
Renee’s son Christopher, 5, has attended sessions and Hornes has brought her son Benjamin, 3, along as well.
In addition to the training sessions, many Moms on the Run sites have get-togethers like dinners out and picnics.
Yoder said the social support of the women in the program is crucial.
“We’re in the same area of life,” Yoder said. “Sometimes it can be lonely being a mom. Here you can kind of take a little time away, enjoy some fitness and have some fun. I couldn’t be happier with how it’s going or more inspired by the ladies and how hard their working.”
MOMS ON THE RUN
Fall Session - Hastings
-Registration currently available
-Program runs Sept. 4 – Nov. 3
Tuesdays 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m.
-Hastings Vermillion River Park Trail
-Contact: Tracy Yoder at TracyYoder@momsontherun.com or (651) 323-3129