Although there are countless health benefits associated with routine aerobic exercise, the road to becoming physically fit usually isn’t always an easy one. One way that runners boost their motivation and enjoyment is by finding a workout partner or friend to help hold them accountable. Pam Burrus, founder of a nationwide running club for women called Moms RUN This Town (MRTT), knows firsthand the motivational power of having an “in-this-together” workout mentality. After reading a running friend’s Facebook status, Pam was inspired to create a free running club for women – one that has since impacted hundreds of lives and changed many women’s perspectives on having an active lifestyle.
MRTT is a social running club that provides free memberships to mothers of all ages, ability levels, and types (including pet “moms”). The club’s main mission is to seek out like-minded women and offer them support and motivation to overcome the many obstacles of motherhood while encouraging them to stay physically active. On a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, the club’s many chapters provide fun ways for moms to get together to run, walk, jog and socialize. MRTT has also built a thriving online community where members can connect with one another, answer running questions, train with each other, and share their personal running stories. Led by experienced runners and enthusiasts, MRTT chapter leaders provide their groups with information like training tips, expert advice, fun giveaways, and product reviews.
Aside from organizing meet-ups and dishing out running tips, MRTT members share with each other an unlimited supply of motivation and positive encouragement. Whether they are preparing for a race or welcoming a beginner runner to the club, the group’s amazing “can-do” attitude is contagious. Chapter leaders and members across the nation have witnessed the impact that the club has had on each other’s lives. “Since Moms RUN This Town started, I’ve seen women who were shy, lacked confidence, and who would probably never leave the treadmill sign up for huge races and conquer things they never thought they could do,” Pam explains. “We motivate each other to get out the door, to sign up for races, to set goals.”
MRTT’s members are of every shape and size, and they celebrate each of their individual successes (for instance, running a first quarter mile, signing up for a first race, or even running a mile without walking). “Most clubs focus on winning,” says Pam. “Our club’s version of “winning” is accomplishing any goal you set for yourself.” Amy Watkiss, a member of MRTT’s Peachtree City/Newnan Chapter, can attest to the effectiveness of the club’s encouragement. “Running has helped me realize that I can complete goals that I never thought were even remotely possible,” she shares enthusiastically. “I have learned that my body and mind are capable of so much more than I once believed.”
Since its conception here in 2010, the running club has undergone lightning-speed expansion: MRTT currently has 360 chapters, which span across the U.S. and Canada. How did the newbie group gain so much momentum in such a short amount of time? Pam contributes it to hard work and modern communication methods. “Social media has been a huge part of the club’s success,” she explains. “It’s helped us to connect easily and grow very quickly.” The use of communication through Facebook has been an integral part of MRTT’s successful outreach strategy. With more than one billion people logging on to Facebook every month, the social network giant has contributed greatly to the club’s growth.
At the regional level, each state has its own MRTT Facebook “fan page,” used mainly to share statewide races and events and post valuable information for members, including giveaways and registration discounts for races in their areas. The pages are also used a way for chapters throughout the state to meet up at large races. “With so many different women and schedules, Facebook is a must for planning everything,” Amy notes. Additionally, each MRTT chapter is set up with their own local Facebook “group,” where members can chat with each other, share ideas, and create events. After gaining so much momentum in the past couple years, the group has set high aspirations for the future. Chapter leaders routinely share with each other accomplishments and ideas on how to give back to their local communities. “We have chapters currently doing things like logging miles and then matching that in canned food items, becoming mentors to children who want to start running, and offering clinics to new runners,” Pam comments. One way that the Peachtree City chapter gives back is by “adopting” golf cart paths, helping to keep the running trails trash-free.
The club also strives to shatter any running club misconceptions that might deter potential members. The club has runners and walkers of all abilities and paces, and members don’t need to reach a certain level before joining. “We want women to realize that all members are all equal,” Pam says. “It’s not about everyone staying on pace with each other – it’s about starting together and achieving our individual goals.”
So whether you are looking to shed a few extra pounds before spring, win the next Disney Princess marathon, or just make new friends who love to stay active, Moms RUN This Town can help light a fire under your feet and get you pounding the pavement in no time! For more information, visit www.momsrunthistown.com or visit the group’s Facebook page.