When the air horn sounds at the Palo Alto Weekly’s 39th annual Moonlight Run & Walk on Sept. 29, a stroller-friendly running club will be among the participants.
FIT4MOM's run club allows moms to build up their running endurance over the course of eight weeks, with each two-month session culminating in an organized race at the end. Mothers can bring their kids with them to practice, creating more flexibility for those who might not otherwise have time to fit in a run.
Charley Burkly, the coach for the FIT4MOM club that offers classes in Sunnyvale, Mountain View and San Jose, said picking the Moonlight Run as the club’s next race was a no-brainer once she learned about the race’s local roots.
“We want events that are part of the communities that our moms are from,” Burkly said. “I knew that the moment I introduced this as our race we would have the buy-in from the moms that are involved.”
Burkly added that the Moonlight Run allowing race participants to run with strollers was a big plus for FIT4MOM, which incorporates strollers into many of its programs. All classes are held outside at local parks. One of those programs is Stroller Strides, which lead fitness instructor and franchise owner Rachel Kitt called the fitness company’s “bread and butter” workout.
The class starts with a dynamic warmup before participants rotate between five stations with different strength training and cardio exercises, which can be adjusted depending on the person and are specifically designed for prenatal and postpartum moms.
What distinguishes it from other workout classes is that it’s kid friendly; moms are encouraged to bring their stroller-aged children with them, and activities to keep kids entertained are incorporated throughout the class.
“What I like to say is, half of my job is to give an amazing workout, the other half is to keep your kid entertained,” Kitt said. “We do that with bubbles, with music, with songs.”
That fun and uplifting energy is exactly what FIT4MOM is planning to bring to the Moonlight Run. The run club’s eight-week training program offers “an achievable timeframe for parents who lead busy lives to be able to get started, to see some great progress over the course of two months, and to have something to work towards,” Burkly said.
“Our programs are very intentionally put together to, in many cases, go from not feeling terribly comfortable running, to getting to the point where our runners are finishing an entire 5K, which is a huge achievement,” Burkly said.
“Especially when they recently had a child, or if they are coming back after not having run for many years and are trying to get back to themselves. It’s been inspiring and fun to be a part of this process.”
Spearheading the addition of Run Club+ to the fitness community’s repertoire of workout programs was Kitt's idea. “There are a lot of incredible running groups in this area, and yet it felt like there was still a need for a place for not just moms, not just women, but one that is specifically stroller friendly,” Kitt said.
The local FIT4MOM branch is just one of hundreds of FIT4MOM franchises nationwide.
“FIT4MOM offers fitness and wellness programs for women at every stage of motherhood,” Kitt said. “In our research-backed programs, women have the opportunity to join a community to get an appropriate workout that is flexible for motherhood.”
Those interested in participating in the Moonlight Run can learn more here.