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What’s your best running memory? Mine isn’t an exciting win, a personal record or a big-city marathon. It’s from a small-town 5k that I ran with my mom. . .
Last year, I was lucky enough to travel to Massachusetts—also my home state—to interview the New England 65 Plus Club, a running group with a membership base of over 600 runners age 65 or older.
One Saturday each fall, the club hosts The Run for All ages, a 5k that allows masters runners to take center stage. The results are age-graded and the awards are announced oldest-to-youngest. I attended the event and watched some of the club’s members blaze through the finish while other walked across the line laughing with friends.
All of the women had high spirits and the awards ceremony buzzed with incredible energy. Because the race took place not far from my hometown, my parents stopped by, and to be able to share this experience with them was icing on the cake.
Still riding on post-race excitement, I asked my mom over dinner that night if she would consider doing a local 5k with me the next morning. She had started running casually a few months before, but I didn’t think she would go for it. My mom is many things (including an incredible dessert chef and a talented writer), but a lover of athletics she is not.
To my amazement she said yes and we went together to Paddy’s 5k, a local event sponsored by a Cambridge pub, the next morning. In her very first race, at the age of 60, my mom discovered a hidden talent. Not only did she like to run—but she was great at it! She finished first in her age group, winning a fancy beer mug as a prize.
Just as my mom had been inspired by the women of the 65 Plus Club to go out there and do her thing, she in turn inspired others. When I posted her accomplishment on the Women’s Running Facebook wall, the message received 761 likes, which at the time was more than any other post in our page’s history.
I now keep her race photo on my desktop as well, so I can open it up whenever I need a little motivation to get out for my run, when want to remind myself to try new things or when I just need to smile. Most importantly, it helps me remember that women can do absolutely anything—all we need is a little inspiration.