Married for more than 22 years and proud mom of two teenage boys, this year will mark Toni’s seventh season with Moms on the Run and her third year as an assistant coach. Head Coach and franchise owner Stephanie Van Heel says, “Toni is inspiring because she believes in everyone. She will reach out to those needing encouragement, offering kindness, compassion and the perfect amount of humor. She loves to celebrate the accomplishments of others and doesn't hesitate to call, text, post, or tell you how proud she is, or how much she admires you. She also believes in herself. She continues to take on challenges and work outside of her comfort zone. Toni doesn't ever take the gift of running for granted.”
She and her friend Stacy joined Moms on the Run the following year, and since that time Toni has become more confident and healthy than she ever imagined. 5k’s led to 7k’s to 10k’s, to 10 milers, to half marathons, to the Great River Ragnar, and then in 2014 the Twin Cities Marathon. Always pushing herself to improve, Toni never stops setting and achieving goals for herself. Despite saying “one and done” regarding marathons, she’s signed up (and very excited) for Grandma’s Marathon this coming June. “Now I am saying, ‘two then through,’” she laughs. “We will see…”
Moms on the Run has become one of Toni’s greatest passions. “I love inspiring other women finding the athlete in themselves and achieving personal records. We ladies are stronger together.” Toni believes in the runner hiding in each of us, and loves to see them step into the light. “I love these ladies. I love to run, laugh, cry, and celebrate with the people who are inspiring me - every day - to be my best self. Moms on the Run changed my life. #MOTRforever!”
Toni’s encouraging spirit is what led to her nomination and selection as our first #MOTRstrong Inspirational Member recipient. She was nominated by her teammate Bobbi: “Toni stayed back with me and was there to support me on my very first run. I was not a runner. I was really out of shape. I would not have made it through the run, much less stayed with MOTR, without her support. She encouraged without pushing and told me how well I was doing. She kept up a light conversation without requiring a response from me. Since then, I have seen her do this for other new members. She is always light-hearted and has a great sense of humor. Everyone should have a "Toni" on the their very first run with MOTR!!”
We couldn’t agree more.