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Cottage Grove, Woodbury Moms on the Run programs start in April

Cottage Grove’s Jenny West runs a race recently. West is a co-coach of the Cottage Grove Moms on the Run running program, which begins this April. (Submitted photo)

Once Spring blooms, moms in Cottage Grove and Woodbury will have an opportunity to see the pounds melt away like the snow. 

Now in its seventh year, Moms on the Run – a running program geared toward the novice and intermediate runner – teaches women how to run their first 5K and also works with more seasoned runners to improve their speed and endurance.

After giving birth to three children in four years, Karissa Johnson began holding group fitness classes for moms. She called it Moms on the Run and based it out of her hometown of Forest Lake.

Now, the Moms on the Run program serves hundreds of women in through its nearly 28 Twin Cities and eight out-of-state locations.

Johnson, a mother of three kids has based the program around “fitness, fun and friendship.”

Moms on the Run has operated in Woodbury for the past four years and a new site opened in Cottage Grove just last year.

Women interested in Moms on the Run can sign up for a one, two or three 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 go to a neighboring site if they miss a session for whatever reason.

Registration is now open for the 18-week Moms on the Run spring seasons in Cottage Grove and Woodbury, which starts at the end of April and runs through August.

Kristina Ticknor is the head coach and owner of the Woodbury site. A Nationally Certified Personal Trainer and mother of four, Ticknor said she fell in love with Moms on the Run the first time she tried it.

“It encompasses everything,” Ticknor said. “I love it that while we’re getting a great workout, we’re also getting together as moms and talking about things and opening up and getting ideas to take home to the family. I love it, because the women are just wonderful and it lets me do what I love to do.”

A gymnast for 19 years, through college, Ticknor graduated with a Kinesiology degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

“Health and Fitness have always been a part of my life,” Ticknor said. “After becoming a mom it was difficult to find the balance between family, work, and fitness. I am so excited to now be the Owner of the Woodbury Moms on the Run. I believe this program can help you achieve your goals, relieve stress and allow you to be the best mom you can be by taking time for yourself and incorporating a healthy lifestyle to your entire family.”

Ticknor operated her Moms on the Run program year-round for the first time last year. Woodbury now has two locations with likely 90 women taking part this year. The Woodbury program will be based out of Colby Lake and Pioneer parks.

In Cottage Grove, the site will be based at Pine Tree Valley Park on Indian Boulevard and will be made up of nearly 50 women.

Tracy Yoder is the owner of the Cottage Grove franchise. She came upon Moms on the Run just a few years ago and decided to join as a participant.

“I was not a runner and was brand new to the community,” Yoder said. “I stumbled across a program called Moms on the Run and so I signed up. I found more than a running program. First I found an environment that accepted ladies of all ages and fitness levels. Second, I found a group of new friends and joined an entire network of moms committed to fitness and supporting each other.”

The Cottage Grove co-head coaches this year are Laura Devine and Jenny West. Devine, a Cottage Grove resident, has been in the fitness industry since 1999 as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, yoga teacher, and since 2007, the owner/operator at Real Fit Workout Studio.

“My philosophy as a fitness professional is to make exercise enjoyable for everyone, no matter their age and fitness level,” Devine said. “Running has always been a great outlet for me when it comes to dealing with life and stress, and I enjoy the friendships the sport has given me over the years.”

West, also a Cottage Grove resident, began running cross country in high school, but realized she liked to run with people and not against them.

She continued to run in college, completing two marathons, several half marathons and various 10-kilometer and 5-kilometer runs. She’s run with her husband in various adventure races; Ragnar Relay, Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder and MuckFest.

“I see running as a part of my life to stay healthy, relieve stress, enjoy the motion of running and be a positive role model for my two sons,” West said. “I believe what you put into your trainings is what you’ll get back on race days for yourself and no one else.”

For more information regarding Moms on the Run visit

-Patrick Johnson

Patrick Johnson
Patrick Johnson has been the South Washington County Bulletin’s sports editor since 2008. He reports on and oversees coverage of high school and amateur sports in south Washington County and Woodbury. Prior to joining the Bulletin, Johnson worked for other Twin Cities suburban newspapers. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
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