MOTR jogs into our tenth year running this week, and what a journey it has been! What began in a Forest Lake park with a group of moms and their strollers has since expanded to 46 sites over six states to now include women in all walks of life. Neither our founder, Karissa, nor original member Tia Moats, who first voiced a desire to train for a 5K, could have known just how many women would respond to the invitation for “Fitness, Fun and Friendship” through Moms on the Run.
Of her first race, Tia recalls, "It felt GREAT to complete that first 5k. I was getting choked up and emotional with all the support I felt. The benefits of not finishing first - more people to cheer you in!” Tia's early enthusiasm helped inspire Moms on the Run and shape the future direction of our training programs.
As stories just like Tia’s began to spread, people in other states began to take notice. Shelly Peters and Sarah McCutcheon, co-owners of Moms on the Run in Eau Claire, started our first out of state franchise when they realized they were both looking into the opportunity at the same time. “I was a young mom and new to Eau Claire," says Shelly, "I was trying get out to run, but it was lonely.”
Hearing from a friend who coached for MOTR in the Twin Cities and loved it, she became intrigued with bringing the program to Eau Claire. “Moms on the Run offered a chance to not only coach but be involved from the ground level. I knew about running, but not a lot about starting a business,” she says.
Moms on the Run had just adopted the franchise model, which provided the opportunity to adopt the structure and support of an established business while still allowing Shelly and her business partner the opportunity to tailor the program to the unique needs of their community. “Six years later, running is no longer lonely but an established, strong community for women here in Eau Claire.”
Stephanie VanHeel, owner of six Minnesota franchises says, “I’m continuously reminded each time I go to ‘work’ why I love Moms on the Run. There’s nothing more rewarding than helping women reach their running and fitness goals.” And Rhonda, Forest Lake Head Coach and originally a year one participant, says it this way: “My heart is full with all of the love and joy brought forward by compassionate, empathetic women I have had the opportunity to walk and run with on the trails of Forest Lake.”
Founder & CEO Karissa Johnson admits that the fast growth of the business has been extremely challenging, but states it has been worth the obstacles she's had to overcome. "Moms on the Run has turned into something I never could have imagined. Being a franchisor is the hardest thing I've ever done, but the inspirational stories I hear from the women in our program keep me going and motivate me to continue to spread our mission of fitness, fun and friendship.”
For ten years now, we’ve been delighted over and over by stories of women who never thought they could run, proving to themselves they can. Yet the inspirational stories have reached far beyond just running, leading to our famous tag line: Fitness, Fun & Friendship. More times than we can count, deep friendships have formed between strangers. Sharing a common goal and doing things we think we cannot together has a way of connecting us. It’s inevitable, it’s beautiful, and it’s the main reason we do what we do.
Moms on the Run has a lot more growing to do because the need is so great. Women need to fit exercise into their busy lives, but they also need social connection and support, and we can accomplish all of those things in just one hour a couple times a week. Almost daily we receive inquiries from around the country; women telling us “We need this here!”
Could you use a little more Fitness, Fun & Friendship in your own life? Do you need a little motivational boost to get started? Please contact one of our many amazing local franchise leaders today. Tell them your story and see that we have just the place for you here. We want to be your team. Come and be #MOTRstrong with us in 2017!