This year, in addition to our Most Inspirational Member, we wanted to name a Most Inspirational Coach for our Twin Cities area program. At Moms on the Run, our volunteer and head coaches are critical to the success of our program. At every location around the country, we have amazing women who have a passion and zest for running, who are committed to helping our members class after class, and who encourage and uplift each member — no matter what level they're at. There are so many women who continually impress us, year after year. Christine Berger, coach with St. Paul Como Moms on the Run, is our 2018 Most Inspirational Coach.
In her nomination, member Jill Dent writes: "Christine's first summer in MOTR was my second summer with the group. I was instantly impressed with her commitment to the program. When there were no other runners who matched her pace she would pop in her headphones and trudge along to get the job done. I wasn't able to complete MOTR that second summer (I had premature twins that May) and when I was finally able came back to the group I was amazed with Christine! She had worked to improve her pace, lost 90 pounds(!), and was training for a 10K. Over the past few years she has been so committed to improving and meeting her goals. She worked with a swimming coach and a biking coach and competed in triathlons — recently placing third in her division in the NYC Lifetime Tri! She has also become a RRCA certified running coach and a MOTR coach. Just being in the same running group as her makes me proud and makes me want to do well!
I'm someone to whom running doesn't come easily. I'm slow and I'm often so overwhelmed in my daily life that I struggle with motivation. Coach Christine really motivates me. Not just because of her own journey but because of her goal-oriented approach to her health and fitness. I really feel like Coach Christine cares about my running achievements and wants to help me do well. When I run with her we talk about my fitness goals and she listens, offers me strategies and checks in on them the next time I see her.
Last summer, I was coming back from a summer flu bug that swept through our house and wasn't able to run for a couple of weeks. I showed up for the last class (in which we ran our practice 5K) thinking that I would just try to do some intervals and probably end up walking most of it. I started running with the group and quickly fell behind. Coach Christine saw me lagging behind and ran beside me most of the way. She would say "I'll be right back, keep going!" and then run ahead to encourage and support the other nearby runners and then run back to me to help keep me going. I ran the whole 5K for the first time in three years. It was a huge and meaningful accomplishment for me. At the MOTR race the following week she stood at the finish line to cheer me on, long after most others had left.
Christine is also motivating to me because she is kind, caring and empathetic. She is honest about her own running struggles, talks about overcoming injuries and is constantly encouraging me on my journey. I'm not a beginning runner but I'm slow. I realize that it is tricky for coaches to span the distance of a wide range of runners. When Christine coaches, she always makes sure to check in with me 2-3 times on each run.
Christine is so inspirational to me. She is a role model and so encouraging!"
As Most Inspiring Coach, Christine won a large gift basket valued at $150, courtesy of sponsor Jennifer Repp with Edina Realty.