With Mother’s Day approaching, I am reflecting on how thankful I am to have a mother who always encouraged me to pursue sports and other activities that have been typically dominated by boys and men. Although she never had the opportunity to participate in sports herself—due to financial constraints and societal expectations of women during the time and place she grew up—my mother knew that it was important for me to have all the experiences that she couldn’t.
I remember fondly when, in middle school, I shared with her that I was protesting gym class because girls weren’t allowed to take wrestling, and she applauded me for my ability to stand up for myself. My activist roots were planted many years ago as was my belief that I can do anything; my mother was integral in that.
Today, I have the pleasure of running and working with amazing women making huge contributions to the sport of running. Whether creating innovative events or using their platforms to encourage others to begin their running journey, I want to shout out a few women who, on top of it all, are also incredible mothers. They set the bar not only for those of us who want to have children, but for everyone who is interested in transforming the lives of others thru running.
Denise Daniels, @fitgoalsdee
Denise is a newly minted ultra marathon runner, after completing a 60K in the Mohonk Preserve in memory of her own mother. Denise encourages her children to get active and her youngest son, Jesse, is a regular participant at our Monday night runs with Harlem Run.
Alma Nolasco, @almamex0215
Alma is a runner who has completed several races and was one of the key women who were part of the original Run4AllWomen initiative. Alma regularly brings her daughter (and young entrepreneur) Noah to our weekly Monday night runs as well.
Jessica Lebron, @jess_from_les
Jessica describes herself as an educator, runner, fighter and lover of life. Jessica has run numerous races and overcome many obstacles that she is proud to share openly and honestly, making her the perfect confidant to turn to in times of need.
Jennifer Villany, @jennifervillany
Jennifer is one of brains behind the logistics of the original Run4AllWomen campaign. A veteran in Tech and an accomplished runner, Jen is an incredibly generous soul, lending her talents to help build the now national ambassador program of Run4AllWomen.
Thank you for sharing yourselves and, in many cases, your children with me. And happy Mother’s Day to all!