Moms RUN this town — and Every Town!

What inspires you? There are a lot of things that can provide inspiration – seeing other people accomplish great things, overcoming adversity, even the sheer beauty of nature can remind us how lucky we are to be alive. For me meeting people, hearing their stories as to how they tried something they knew nothing about and then went on to impact other lives.

I heard about this group called Moms RUN this Town and I wanted to learn more.  I reached out to Pam Burrus who is the founder of Moms RUN this town.moms_run

I asked Pam how she got started with running, Pam said ‘I started walking with a bunch of women and I trained to walk before I had kids, but I got a little bored with ‘just’ walking.  So I started to run from mailbox to mailbox but I got winded easily. I realized by doing this I was doing intervals.  So I decided to sign up for my first 5k which was a community 5k at the courthouse in Fayetteville.’

‘I love the sense of community with running and meeting people.  As I was running more and more I realized I needed a club to run with as I felt a little insecure about my running.  When I went to my first run club it was mainly men, I didn’t know much about the sport or what to wear – like compression socks – I was real nervous.  So I decided to train on my own and I got up to a distance of 15k and then I had my first child.  And of course I stopped running.  So I decided to start running again this time with friends only I sucked in more friends.  I then decided to start a running group for new moms as I began to meet more mothers that liked to run’, Pam replied.

‘So I bought the domain name and I found that a lot of women needed support.  Its grown to 700 chapters nationwide and roughly 17k facebook followers’, Pam stated.

‘Recently I was told a story where this lady got off a bus on a recent trip to an event, she samoms_logow a banner that said ‘Mom’s and she walked up and introduced herself and she thought our group was so inviting as they  took the fear out of the experience for her,’ Pam responded.

‘So I’ve expanded to Moms and Dogs – now Dog Moms run this town..’

I asked Pam about her motivation to run/walk – Pam said, ‘’My best friend was active and my mom’s cousins did the Peachtree Road Race every year.  When they would come to our family 4th of July party with their Peachtree Road Race shirts on it made me curious about the race.’

‘When I got married my husband did the Peachtree Road Race and I fell in love with it as everybody was having fun and it seemed like anybody could do it.  So the following year I decided to do it but I walked the whole thing. I decided to stay active and I started walking 15 miles a week.  I did the 3 day 60 mile Susan Komen walk and from all this walking I got to the point where I was faster than my husband and the following year I beat him in the Peachtree Road Race’, Pam replied.

‘I started running in 2008, which was the year of my first event.  My favorite events are the Georgia Publix Marathon because it’s a hilly, miserable course but it was a mental win.  The next one is the soldier marathon as the support is great’, Pam replied.

I went on to ask Pam if she uses technology to track her activities, Pam stated ‘I go online to plot my runs where everything is calculated and I save the runs to my GPS watch.’

Pam went on tell me about the negative side of running, ‘It became obsessive, running became my life, so I had to step back as it was stealing away family time.  So my new campaign is just run for fun’, Pam replied.

I asked Pam what advice she would give someone new to running, Pam said ‘I would tell them about intervals because people beat themselves up about not running far enough.. Do lengthy runs with shorter walks..  Also weight train, the core is important – strength train.’

Thank you Pam, its amazing to see how you took something that made you nervous and built a network to share and inspire others.  See you on the Trail or Road!

A Father’s Inspiration to health

I lost my father to a health related illness at the very young age of 55 and that inspired me to be a different person – healthy and driven.  So you could imagine my excitement when I was introduced to Jason Russell who I met by way of my involvement with the Atlanta BeltLine.

BMRgroupJason is the founder of Black Men Run which has grown to 52 chapters globally. Jason is from Memphis Tennessee and he now lives in Atlanta with his wife and two kids.  I asked Jason what got him into running, Jason said ‘My health in my 30s was not great – I was taking blood pressure medication and I knew I needed to do something about it, so I started running.’BMR

‘So I started running 5 days a week.   As a kid I watched my father run and I credit him for my inspiration with my health and the club.  I wanted to be a fellowship for others and I wanted to create a club for men with a social outlet – so I started Black Men Run and I grew it through Social Media’, Jason replied.

I asked Jason about his father’s inspiration, Jason responded ‘I started Black Men Run for my Dad because I watched him run by himself his entire life (he is now 74 and still running). I wanted to create a vehicle where other African American men would not have to run by themselves. African American male runners are a minority group of an even smaller minority group so I wanted to create a place where we could train together and fellowship.’

BMR_JasonRussellI asked Jason what he does for a living, Jason stated ‘I am a contractor and I work on Social Media projects.’  I went on to ask Jason if he had local events that he marketed to his club, Jason said, ‘We had about 200 runners sign-up for the GA Publix Half Marathon and we had a party the night before.  We also participate in the HBCU 5k.’

I went on to ask Jason what his favorite races are, Jason said ‘The Peachtree Road Race – as I have done it the past 8 years.  Another is the GA Publix Marathon and the Trenton, NJ 5k/10k/half Marathon as the event director has created a Black Men Run Medal and we bring about 80-90 guys with us.’

I asked Jason what advice he would give to a new runner/walker, Jason said ‘ Get medically cleared by a doctor first, then get a good pair of shoes and pick a race/event and set a goal while finding a good program that works and stay diligent with it.  Most people get hooked after participating in a few events.’

In closing I asked Jason how he tracks his daily activities, Jason replied ‘ We have a Black Men App that I use that was developed by our group that is on the iTunes store where I track all of my runs –

And what goals do you have for the remainder of 2015 and 2016, Jason replied ‘For 2015 – I want to do Sub 50 minutes in the Peachtree Road Race today, Complete the ATC Triple Peach, Run all races in the BeltLine series and for 2016 run my first marathon outside of the USA.’

Thank you Jason for sharing your story and I am hopeful the remainder of 2015 is a great success for you!!