HUNTERSVILLE – Heather White and Timara Bolding live to run – along with other moms from around Lake Norman.
A part of the national organization of Moms Run This Town, Chapter Leader White and Co-leader Bolding run the Lake Norman Moms Run This Town club. They started the chapter two years ago in September out of their desire to get healthier, encourage others to run and find more running partners.
“It hit a need in our community because the membership requests climbed over 500 members,” White said. “We get this pop of people and of those, 20 to 30 people will become active members.”
Moms Run This Town is a free running club for women to motivate each other to walk, jog or run to stay fit. The Lake Norman chapter is one of 500-plus chapters.
The club organizes group races and runs whenever possible. Members of the Lake Norman chapter meet multiple times a week at various spots around town. Some members qualify in races. Others are just beginners.
White said the club is a good way for mothers to find someone to run with who is in their pace range, considering some people would never think to go run unless they have other people going with them.
“People coming back after a baby can run with moms in their same situation,” White said. “Because they do not feel they are back up at fitness level. It is nice for them to have that camaraderie as new moms.”
White said experienced runners are a resource for folks who are not as fast as they can provide training.
“It is a great feature the club attracts,” White said. “We have the whole spectrum of runners. It’s a nice sense of support at the start and finish to know they have supporters.”
While the club serves as an outlet for mothers to get back in shape through running, it also provides opportunities for women to connect with each other, especially working mothers who may not have extra time to socialize.
“Women who have been running together have formed incredible friendships,” White said. “It helps them get through depression and overcome loneliness. It’s a well-rounded club that we enjoy.”
Tiffany Dunn, a member since August 2013, says she has met other mothers who also enjoy exercising. She said running with a group has its advantages.
“As a personal trainer, I felt that I have offered sound advice to some of the newer, less experienced runners,” Dunn said. “Sometimes when you are tired, they are the ones that wouldn’t allow you to stop, to keep pushing through to the end.”
Although the club is designed for moms, White says anyone can join as long as they are females. Not to put out men, but she feels the official membership is for women, especially since the club is a way for them to share what they have in common or discuss personal matters.
Chapter runs are organized through Facebook. Club mothers plan their running or race schedules through Facebook, but do not post anything publicly for safety reasons. A member must join to receive specific updates.
The club participates in local and national races, some of them being Huntersville Aquatic Center races, the Huntersville Half Marathon, the Charlotte Corporate Cup Half Marathon, the Richmond Marathon and the Ridgecrest Downhill at Dawn Half Marathon.
“(The Ridgecrest Half) was a fun local race,” White said. “The group enjoyed it, and I expect we will go back next year.”
The ladies also went to Charleston, S.C., a few months ago to run the Cooper River Bridge 10K.
“That one we did as a girl’s weekend. It’s a really fun time,” White said. “We go down the night before and stay another night to go out to dinner. It’s a girlfriend’s getaway we organized.”
In addition to fundraisers, the club also receives help from sponsors and local stores. Fleet Feet in Huntersville provided discounts, giveaways and coolers for races on the Birkdale Greenway. White hopes the club can raise enough money to close roads and bring policemen to guard during races.
When she moved to the area, White was happy to see people out exercising and people who share her lifestyle. She looks forward to seeing what is in store for the club’s future.
“It’s a positive community impact for our area for people to see us out on the roads running – that there are clubs people can join when they come to the area,” White said. “It’s a great community resource for running. It goes beyond just running. It’s a true sense of support and camaraderie whether you have been here forever or new to the town.”
Dunn encourages other moms to join the running club as she believes it has something for everybody.
“Runners of all abilities share the same goal of getting some miles in and learning from each other along the way,” she said. “The encouragement and social support is invaluable to a mother, runner or any woman.”
Want to join?
• Must be female, local and/or looking to be active.
• Informal screening required.
• Free of membership.
To join: Contact Heather White at firstname.lastname@example.org.