“Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it” is a quote by Oprah Winfrey.
It is the also a way of life for triathlete, mother of three, business owner, and founder of Run Like a Mother Megan Searfoss.
As a mother, Searfoss found herself constantly driving to practices and games and cheering her kids on from the sidelines. In 2007, she decided that it was time to have her kids come and celebrate her and see her as a role model. That was the year she brought together 40 women on Mother’s Day for an 8 a.m. Ridgefield run/walk so that their children and spouses could see them center stage.
That first morning run in 2007 was such a success that Searfoss decided to open the event to other women. In 2008, she had 400 registered for the race, ages 10 to 90. Each year the event has grown, and now Ridgefield has to stop the registration at 2,000 each Mother’s Day.
“Run Like a Mother is a celebration of women and being all that they can be,” Searfoss said.
“We want women to feel good about themselves and be able to solve their problems in a more positive way. When running, you are in the out-of-doors, stimulated by the environment and other runners, and look at life differently.”
“Our 5K on Mother’s Day makes everyone a winner. We give out T-shirts, roses, medals, tote bags, and items to make the race special. We then invite all families to join us for a picnic in Ballard Park following the race. Here there are more accolades and special events. We have people coming from all over the state, neighboring states, and even Florida for this very special event.”
Managing a 5K is not easy work, but Searfoss has seen the impact that it can have on lives everywhere. For this reason she initiated Run Like a Mother in the Twin Cities, Milwaukee, Raleigh, Frisco, Texas, and Phoenix. On her website, Searfoss has also developed a virtual run that has become very popular.
According to Searfoss, “to run/walk you need only a good bra and a good pair of shoes. It can take about half an hour out of your busy day and be worth every minute. I want children to think of running as part of life like brushing their teeth or taking a shower. Being sedentary is the new cancer. We have to get up and move to stay healthy.”
To prepare for the yearly event, Searfoss and her partner have developed a Racy Ladies group that trains for this event and others. Women who are interested in getting in shape may turn out at Tiger Hollow on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. or on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. at her store on Danbury Road, the Ridgefield Running Company. All levels of ability are welcome.
In addition to her running store in Ridgefield, co-owned by Deb Povinelli, Searfoss has written a book called See Mom Run. This book can help runners at any level and may be ordered on Amazon. The book is also inspirational and includes running stories from people who have lost more than 100 pounds, stood up to abuse, been better able to deal with the loss of a spouse or child, or have a terminal illness.
Searfoss is also on Facebook.
Run Like a Mother is a celebration for women. However, when registration money is left over from the event, it goes to a local charity. Last year Povinelli, the race chairperson, donated to the Ridgefield Library in the name of Noreen L. Papa, a woman who died in 2013 of colon cancer, leaving four children. They have also donated to the Molly Ann Tango Fund, Danbury Children’s First, the Hartford Children’s Hospital, the Hole in the Wall Gang, and others.
Unlike so many people, Searfoss has already reached her life goals. She has competed twice in the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii and has been able to help many women experience a new way of life through running.
“My program is not about taking first or second place in the race. My program is about getting out, exercising, socializing, and challenging yourself to do better. You are not competing against anyone else but yourself. You are strengthening your heart and soul.
So reconsider what you usually do on Mother’s Day. It might be more fun to get up early and start running or walking for 3.5 miles from the Yanity gym with several hundred other women. Your family will be given support signs to hold up for you along the way. Your family can also be part of the party afterward.