Mothers and Daughters Race Together in the Shape Diva Dash
The 12 passenger van handled well, although it was a bit like driving a bus. But for our needs, it was perfect. Together that morning, we laughed and had breakfast but you could tell nerves were a bit high. No one had ever participated in anything like this. One of the mothers told me that she didn’t feel well and probably would not run fast today. She just had a baby a few months ago, but I was thinking all along that it was nervousness.
I never told them that the course would have obstacles. I was saving that as a surprise, so I told them about it in the van for the first time and showed them the video. Everyone got really excited about it! It added something special to the event and became more of a personal challenge. Do it for you.
Once the race started, Jazmin, our team leader, began darting through the crowd immediately. I started pushing our faster kids and moms to go with her and they took off too. I was excited about our youngest runner because she is the one child whose mom didn’t run, but the fact that she was fast enough and strong enough to keep up with Jazmin made me (and her mom) extremely proud!
We had the hardest rain of the day! Entire sections of the course were un-walkable and definitely not runnable. One of the runners fell a thousand times while walking, so jogging wasn’t really an option for her. Her mother and I would never leave her behind, so we stayed together.
From stories exchanged later, I learned that one of the mothers, a very strong runner, decided then that she couldn’t wait for her daughter. She said, “I’m sorry baby, but I gotta go,” and left her with some of the other mothers. Their children were ahead with Jazmin. Somewhere around 1.5 miles, there was a lake to run through (I didn’t like that! Everyone else says that was there favorite part! Go figure).
The mud was glorious! It was so thick in places that shoes got stuck and came off. There was an area that I have affectionately nicknamed Bunker Hill because runner souls died there. People came up behind us, tried to just run over it, and found themselves chest deep in mud. I almost fell 4 times, 3 of those times were in the same stride! That’s probably what I loved about the run more than anything. Staying alive!
The ride back in the van was the best thing ever. I don’t know if you have ever played on a team, but travelling together is one of the strongest memories. You get to talk about the game. Relive the moments with people who were with you. Talk strategy. Laugh. Cry. Laugh more.
In the van, we were soaked! Dirty! Exhausted. Happy. We talked about every minute of it, the rain, the mud, the obstacles. Phones came out and everyone had different pictures and different angles of each other completing obstacles. Phone numbers were exchanged, text messages sent, stories compared. There was so much happiness in the van. Parents and kids shared stories and everyone laughed. At that moment, they weren’t strangers running in a club. That wasn’t so-and-so’s daughter. They were a team. They were equals. I had a very proud, quiet moment while we talked.
After the race, I was thinking long and hard about how to make sure that this group could continue to participate in races together. Most of these women love running and before this club, they ran alone or not at all. Some of them even hate running. Yet, there they were in the front and smiling and enjoying it as they pushed each other and patiently waited for one another over obstacles. When we are talking about building networks, that’s what a network looks like to me- teams of people pushing each other to be better, to get where they are going and helping each other to grow.