This Runner’s Mom Has Been Her Partner With Every Step

When thinking about her biggest fan, web editor Caitlyn Pilkington thought of one person who holds her family together: her mom.


Many obstacles in my life have called for a dependable cheerleader—just as many accomplishments deserved a pat on the back. My mom has been the loudest supporter and biggest voice of encouragement in all areas of my adolescence and adulthood.

My first heartbreak at age 17, a yearlong, bedridden stint during a colitis flare at age 20, my first official move out of the house at age 23 and my decision to tackle my dream job at age 26 compose a pretty solid two-seater rollercoaster ride, and my mom has been my partner on every track.

During the ride, running has been my best emotional outlet, and my mom has been the most consistent face along the course. Not only has she held my hand through the challenging moments of self-discovery that come with logging miles, but she’s also pinned on a race bib and tackled her own fears right alongside me during her first triathlon—where she taught me how to be a better cheerleader.

She quietly listens to me overanalyze everything—relationships, my job and my training—and gives me a nudge toward a better perspective when I need it. She’s smart: She knows the best medicine for me is a good, hard (or long, slow) run.

I come from a very active family of five, and we all support each other at most every endurance event. My mom lies at the center of that support system, playing team captain through email, texts and phone calls to make sure the other four know who needs a pit crew on what weekend.

It’s easy to say that my entire family is also my biggest fan, but my mom definitely leads the pack across every finish line.

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