When Malia Glover’s kids approached her and said they wanted her to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona 5K with them, she recalls saying, “I always tell you guys to step out of your comfort zone, so let’s do it.”
The single mother of five (ages 2 through 17), who is a full-time Manager, Provider Relations for Synchrony Financial’s Arizona site, wanted to get back into running through an employee engagement program called Synchrony Rocks. The program offers complimentary race entries for employees and their family through Synchrony’s partnership with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series.
“When I initially said no to running, it was because, I guess, that fear of running. I knew what it took to run,” she says. But Malia found amazing support through both her employer of 18-plus years and her family.
“There’s never a dull moment in my family and in my life,” Malia says. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Upon successfully completing the 5K, Malia had quite the surprise at the finish line when her manager, Alex Price, offered her the opportunity to run the Synchrony Financial Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Brooklyn-an experience she would get to enjoy with her family in the Big Apple.
Malia worked hard to build up to the half-marathon distance of 13.1 miles, since the 5K (3.1 miles) had been her farthest race. She joined a gym and found a running partner in her oldest son, Elijah.
“Running has brought me and my mom closer together,” he says. “It’s something that we both love now.”
Despite expectations of a tough race, Malia kept moving forward. “It is kind of a unique ambition to have, to run that 13.1 miles,” she says. “It shows my children that you can do anything. You can set those goals and you can achieve them.”
That doesn’t mean the journey was easy. Elijah says, “I think my mom is scared of failing.” She questioned whether she could do it. “Can I finish? I know I can. This is my time. This is my chance.”
So they lined up at the start of the Synchrony Financial Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Brooklyn, and before they knew it they were headed out down Eastern Parkway. They enjoyed the neighborhood feel of the borough with its tree-lined streets, and when they reached beautiful Prospect Park, they knew they didn’t have much farther to run. After crossing the finish line of their first half-marathon together, mother and son embraced in a quiet and tired celebration of victory.
Malia says, “I don’t see it as a completion. I think I see it as a start of a new journey for me in my life. I kind of feel that my daughters are going to start getting into running along with me. I think it’s a new beginning for all of us.”