They come from every “walk” of life—from healthcare, public relations, catering, education, administration. They span a generation. Between them they have 12 children ranging in age from newborn to 22. They live in town and out in the country.
They come from every “walk” of life—from healthcare, public relations, catering, education, administration. They span a generation. Between them they have 12 children ranging in age from newborn to 22. They live in town and out in the country. They have hobbies and interests as varied as any group of women might. But they all wind up headed in the same direction several days a week and often before the sunrise.
They’re the “five at five” running crowd even though sometimes there are more than five or less depending on how life gets in the way of these women who “run like a mother.” The group currently includes Lauren Rousseau, Laura Grumley, Molly Goodman, Marra McMillan, Terri Lundberg, and Laura Duff.
Several years ago a few of these girl-gait-keepers found themselves connected through working out at the gym or running in races or motherhood, and through these varied encounters realized that they were pulled together with a certain commitment to perhaps become pace setters.
Terri Lundberg helped to get the group centered on the goal of running in the first Iron Mom race five years ago. “Some of us had babies and we’d been walking and then it began to evolve into running and as we were introduced to Terri and a woman named Renee Golson (who has now moved away), we found that we were all converging on this place of becoming a ‘unit’ and running and training together,” said Lauren.
In Marra McMillan’s living room on a cold January night, the women gathered, beer and wine in hand, to talk about how they got to this place individually and as a sneakers-to-the-sidewalk morning mother lode. “There’s something unexplainable about the bond you share while running with others,” said Laura Grumley. “Several of us had completed a half-marathon, but as runners, we enjoy sharing our love of the sport with other people. And we love adding new runners to the group. We got ‘official’ when we started training for the 2010 Iron Mom with Terri, who by the way we thought was intimidating.”
“We actually thought she was mean,” added Marra.
“What!” replied Terri. “I wasn’t mean.” The consensus was that Terri wasn’t actually mean, but she did mean business. So the girls got down to the work of working out in order to make the finish line in the first Iron Mom run. Now they have five under their belt, along with a HOST of other races around the country, and they’re headed to the next event this May.
“Ever since then,” said Molly, “we’ve been traveling all over the place to run in races of varying distances; sometimes together, sometimes in duos or trios. We can’t all make every trip but we’re able to at least grab someone from the ‘team’ to head to a race together. We’re like Sex In The City on wheels; especially on trips sharing hotel rooms and TALKING.”
“This is our therapy,” said Laura Duff. “We talk about EVERYTHING. So we’re not only talking to keep our sanity when we’re running in 90 degree heat or at dawn in 25 degree temperatures, we’re also venting and getting in that important girlfriend time.”
The headstrong haul-it-out-on-the-highway crowd has hit their stride all around the region and as far away as Chicago; Memphis; Charleston, WV; St. Louis; and Nashville. But they’re most recognizable in their hometown. “We have run all over this town,” said Marra. “I think we’ve made ourselves known to some homeowners here and there because we sometimes leave a water bottle or a piece of clothing in someone’s front yard and then have to go back and retrieve it!” The girls also occasionally pick a “grazing spot” where they can leave a snack or a pickme-up ahead of time to grab on the go.
But amidst the steaming asphalt or the bracing headwind or the alarm at five AM, the moms keep on moving. “The first race we did together, we set our pace and stayed together for the ENTIRE race. We crossed the finish line holding hands,” remembered Lauren. And even though their need to stay strong together hasn’t waned, they are now more confident in their own personal ability.
“We’ve made such progress as a group,” added Laura Grumley. “We’ve even done a couple of off-road runs at LBL and two triathalons. We keep hitting our goals and looking for the next challenge.”
The stories lasted much longer that night than our space on the page in this special running edition of Paducah Life, but maybe someday there will be a blog. Or at least that’s what they keep “talking” about. “There was this time we ran from the Sportsplex to Melber in a storm and we stopped and took a photo with the Melber sign,” laughed Marra. “And every time that happens, someone says, ‘We can put that on the blog’—whenever that actually happens.”
What WILL happen is abundantly clear. The long and winding road will always lead to long and lasting friendship.