With Mother’s Day around the corner, we are celebrating the moms in our lives. From balancing personal goals and parenting roles to the lessons learned and the lessons they hope to pass down. We asked our community to share their experience as a mother or to share the love of the mothers in their life. And although motherhood doesn’t fit neatly into a box – each kid is different, and it can be a messy and color-outside-of-the-lines sort of undertaking – we appreciate the insights, wisdom, love, hardships, and joys shared with us.




Kara Goucher

What's it like being a mom?

Being a mom has changed me so much. When Colt was born I was willing to fight for him, and that has enabled me to learn to finally speak up for myself. Watching Colt learn and explore the world has changed my perspective on so many things, and made me look at my own past with more acceptance and grace. Now that he has become a runner himself, it really motivates me to protect the sport. I want him to experience all the beauty that it has to offer and I cherish sharing a love of running with him.


Carrie Mack

“Motherhood is” and well, it’s a lot…

Motherhood is a steady stream of milestones both softly and loudly drifting by.

Motherhood is putting frozen meatballs in your grocery pick up, swearing they forgot them and then finding them under the seat in your car 9 days later.

Motherhood is holding your almost 30lb toddler with one arm on a walk while you try to lick your melting gelato in the other hand without him touching it.

Motherhood is getting out the door and feeling the rush of freedom that finally comes with running.

Motherhood is prepping your son for an x-ray by reading books, looking at pictures, talking about it ad nauseam so that he is comfortable only to bang the hell out of his head when you lower him onto the table.

Motherhood is paying a babysitter a small fortune and then cleaning your entire house, and optimizing everything about that 2 hour window so it is easy for them.

Motherhood is letting your kid eat the last of the blueberries even though you bought them for yourself and just ran 12 miles.

Motherhood is waking up at 6 am to get in an online waiting room to sign up your baby for the parks and recreation swim class.

Motherhood is attempting to count every eyelash as they sweetly doze off to sleep in your arms.

Motherhood is planning weekend training around weather and wake windows and hunger and fueling and remembering longingly the days when you got to go for a long run in the morning and then nap in the afternoon. RIP naps.

Motherhood is trying to figure out what the hell is the difference between 24m and 2T sizes.

Motherhood is measuring risk vs reward when deciding to get up in the dark to run and be back before anyone else is up, and trying to calm the corner of your brain that asks if you are safe in doing so.

Motherhood is constantly adjusting the volume in your brain in an attempt to manage the sensory overload that is legos and beads and blocks and books and stickers all over the living room at the same time.

Motherhood is coordinating work schedules and appointments and race calendars.

Motherhood is researching car seats for weeks and then just adding a random one to your cart, clicking buy now, so you can finally move on down the ticker tape of endless decisions.

Motherhood is calling a friend when it feels seemingly impossible to keep going and they say all the right things.

Motherhood is watching your baby push sand through their toes for the very first time and marveling at the wonders of the ocean through their eyes.

Motherhood is checking the monitor when you’re at your hotel the night before a race to listen to your spouse read bedtime stories and put your baby to bed 500 miles away.

Motherhood is reaching through the internet to say “you’re doing great” to other new moms.

Motherhood is accepting help and giving yourself grace, over and over and over again.

Motherhood is rewarming your coffee 6 times before 8am.

Motherhood is calling your representatives pleading for gun control.

Motherhood is a soft place to land.

Motherhood is a test of resilience.

Motherhood is trusting yourself.

Motherhood is bewildering.

Motherhood is oh so tender.

Motherhood is remembering that joy is not a trick.


Rebecca Mehra

How did your mom pave the way and/or "improve the sport" for you?

My mom grew up in Long Island, NY where she played tennis and participated in "kick line," two of the only sport opportunities offered for girls at the time. She has always been my number one fan, and my loudest supporter (if you have heard her yell, you know what I mean). While I was growing up she was always encouraging of me playing sports, and pursuing them on a high level, even if it meant hours in LA traffic to go to practices, or long flights to competitions.

Biggest lesson or piece of advice your mom instilled in you?

Your mom is still going to love you no matter how you run/race. For many years she was always the first face I wanted to see after a race, on the good and bad days.

What do you admire most about your mom?

Her competitive spirit and drive is contagious! Even now approaching 60 she participates in a competitive tennis league, and through two major surgeries is still inspired and excited to get out there and play. And win, haha.

No question in my mind that I wouldn't be where I am today without the never-ending support of my mom. Love you!


Maria Michta-Coffey  

What does it mean to be a mom + athlete?

It has been such a gift to be able to continue to compete as an elite athlete 4 years into motherhood and be able to share this journey with my daughter, Lily. She is learning from a young age what dedication entails, what hard work looks like, and how positivity and encouragement powerfully impact performance. Being a mom and an athlete also means you must be able to manage time and find a balance. It means mentally overcoming feelings of guilt when you selfishly take time away from your child to train and travel to compete. It also means that training can’t always be as high of a priority as it previously once was. As a result I try to include Lily in as much of my training as feasibly possible.

She loves coming to the track with me and starting my warmup together with me. And while she is still not the biggest fan of staying in the jogging stroller she is starting to become more patient and looks forward to playing on the playground together immediately after. I love the fact that Lily absolutely loves to be outdoors and has endless energy. She is at the age now where I am her idol and she wants to do everything with me and like me. She has her own team USA uniform that she had to wear to cheer me on at Milrose, she draws a chalk track on the drive way so we can race and she’ll pretend to start her own watch in the neighborhood before starting to “train”. Sometimes on a walk in the neighborhood she tell us to stop, stand on a made up line like a race start and she’ll call out, “on your marks, get set, go!” At that point we take off in a race. And to her since we are going fast she calls it race walking, despite the fact that she is running. To her if it’s on a track, or involved in a race and you are going fast it is race walking, not running. And honestly I love how she has deduced this from growing up around me training and racing! Lily is actively part of the process and thus gets to experience all the unique opportunities that come with it. Being able to be a mom and athlete and actively share my love of sport and the associated adventures with Lily has really been special.

Biggest lesson and teachings you hope to instill in your daughter?

I hope to instill in her a sense of confidence, not the kind that comes from hubris, cockiness or feeling immune to failure. Rather a confidence cultivated overtime, augmented by a self-awareness of her own strengths, drawn from challenges previously overcome, and a fortified by a willingness to push beyond her limits today for something greater tomorrow.

I hope she learns there are ways for adversity to strengthen her; that the path to success never has and never will be easy. An understanding that anything worth pursuing will require dedication and sacrifice. Therefore, it is important to embrace the struggle, learn how to cope with setbacks, and find a support system to call on when life gets tough.

I hope she realizes she can take the road less traveled by and if she finds no path to where she is headed, she can blaze a new trail. I hope she realizes that it is possible to be a student AND an athlete at the highest of levels, and no one should make her have to choose.

And one day if she wants to start a family of her own, I want her to feel empowered and excited and know that it is her choice when it feels right. I want her to know that Motherhood can be balanced with a career, if she so chooses.

I want her to understand that success and happiness are not inherently synonymous nor mutually exclusive. It is possible to thrive by achieving atypical balances with career advancement and other extremely important aspects of life. It is absolutely possible to achieve success that brings happiness rather than is at the expense of happiness.

And most importantly, I want her to know that she will always be my daughter and I will always love and support her and have the utmost confidence that she will find a way to accomplish anything and everything she desires and achieve happiness along the way.


Jenna Fesemyer

How did your mom pave the way and/or "improve the sport" for you?

My mom has been my biggest supporter throughout the course of my athletic career. At the age of 15, when wheelchair racing was new and foreign to me, my mom was the one who encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and give it a try. Shortly after I started wheelchair track and road racing, my mother was my high school coach, guiding me through daily workouts and training me alongside able bodied runners at school. When I decided to go to the University of Illinois for college and continue wheelchair racing, my mother was always a phone call away to offer her spirited coaching advice and love.

Biggest lesson or piece of advice your mom instilled in you?

There is no reason to worry about the little things — enjoy the process and celebrate life through movement every day. Everything else will fall into place!

What do you admire most about your mom?

I admire her joy and zest for life. I don’t know anyone who laughs or smiles more than my mom!

Thank you, Mom, for teaching me to celebrate life through the gift of running and sport. Some of my greatest memories come from training with you and being coached by you. Thank you for being my favorite life-teammate and mentor!




Karla Robertson

What does it mean to be a mom + runner?

To be a momma and a runner is not always easy, but it is so rewarding. It takes patience, compromise, planning, and a go-with-the-flow attitude. Runs get squeezed in when they can, sometimes at lunch with co-workers or earlier/later than originally planned. And soccer games are always prioritized above Saturday long runs. But my kids see that I value my health and fitness, and nothing beats the feeling of seeing my family at the finish line, even if Hudson is screaming "you didn't even make the top 500!"


Meredith Mikell

What does it mean to be a mom + runner?

It is incredibly important that we model tackling challenges for our children. That we show them that challenges are not only inevitable, they are welcome and invaluable. Running has taught me SO many lessons that have applied to my life as a mother: patience, perseverance, delayed gratification, how to handle frustration, how to savor successes, gratitude for moments of joy, and the necessity of pursuing a goal that is truly my own. I want my son to see me as more than just his care provider, but also as a woman with a dream.




Kami Beckendorf

Motherhood is…

Both rewarding and challenging. My daughter is my world, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit there were nights I cried myself to sleep. It's not a topic that has always been openly discussed, but motherhood can be tough! And while I'd never take back a second of it, I hope it's a topic that can be discussed more openly so other moms know they're not alone.

Motherhood has taught me...

Patience, how to not sweat the small stuff, the beauty and excitement of taking in the world again from a new perspective, and truly unconditional love.

What role do you play in "improving the sport" for your daughter?

I've always wanted my daughter to know she has as equal of an opportunity to any sport she chooses to participate in as anyone else. From dance/gymnastics, to taekwondo, to soccer- I've always supported her passion and pushed her to follow her heart, no matter anyone else's opinion. 

What do you admire about your mom?

She was one of the strongest women I knew. She dealt with a lot throughout her life and found a way to stay positive despite the challenges. Even in her battle with cancer, when doctors counted her out, she continued to fight, and found the strength to exude love through it all.

Words of wisdom...something you wish someone told you or that you would tell moms out there.

Tomorrow isn't promised- take the vacation, make the memory, get in the picture (no matter what you look like). Time goes by fast, and it's the one thing you can never get back.


Jenn Harowicz

A lesson or teaching I hope to instill in my boys…

My boys were four and nine years old when I decided to try out for the local roller derby league. It was important that I have my own activity and identity outside of being a mom but to also show my boys that life has so many cool things to offer, and it’s never too late to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. I have such fond memories of my boys cheering for me and my teammates with their cute signs…they were watching their mom be a part of something wild and crazy and hard. After four years of roller derby, at the age of 39 I took up running. I set a goal of running my first full marathon a year later, right before my 40th birthday and once again my boys were out there with signs cheering me on, watching their mom set out to achieve a goal while doing something physically and mentally challenging. I hope that watching me take on new athletic endeavors has instilled in my boys that athletics aren’t just for when you’re young but that there’s a lot of joy and reward to pushing yourself, trying new crazy things, cheering on others, and being a part of a team at any stage or age of your life.


Erin Wagner

What do you admire about your mom?

What I admire most about my mom is that she never pushed my brother and I into the sport of running. We both grew up doing a bunch of different sports but it wasn’t until my brother and I reached high school where we realized that running was the best sport out there and committed to it full-time. It’s incredible for my brother and I to share this sport with our mom. She gets the trials and tribulations we face when we suffer an injury or setback in our running; she understands that we need to knock out a long run on Sunday mornings, because she also needs to get her long run done, too! She is always there to cheer us on in races, whether it was a Tuesday evening dual meet in high school or the NCAA Cross Country Championships.

Thank you, mom, for instilling in us a genuine love for the sport of running. Thank you for inspiring us to pursue our dreams and push ourselves to new heights. Thank you for all the times you’ve dropped everything to travel across the country to watch us compete and be our greatest cheerleader. We love you more than words can describe!


Thank you, moms. All moms. Moms who have loved and who have lost. Birth mothers and adoptive mothers. Mother figures and mothers longing to be. We extend our love to you this Mother's Day and every day.

May 11, 2023 — Maureen Gehrig
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