How often does a bit of encouragement from a sibling, change the course of your life? At 30 years old and with a two year old, Megan Searfoss was not a runner, but when her sister who lived 4 hours away suggested they run a marathon together – she thought, why not?. The first mile she ran was torture, but she and her sister set up a training plan over the phone and Megan started to learn everything she could about running.
Little did the two women know but the marathon they had chosen to start with, was one of the most difficult in the country. The Big Sur Marathon was very hilly but somehow they made it through. After this first marathon, Megan was hooked, realizing running was so energizing and easy to do just put your shoes on and go, no drive to the gym, no monthly fees, and no excuses. “I had never run and now I can run a marathon, that’s amazing.”
Her husband’s work took the family of now 5 to 3 states and 4 different houses, but the constant throughout the chaos was Megan’s running. Since 1992, she has run 13 marathons and six Ironman competitions and countless other races. Leaving her job on the design side of a commercial real estate firm, the family settled in Ridgefield, CT in 2006. Megan was so busy making sure her three girls ages 7, 9 and 14 had activities and friends; Megan realized that she didn’t have any friends. So she turned to running again and gathered a group of women runners that became her salvation. Running every Sunday, Megan’s core group of girlfriends were there to commune and commiserate with on weekly runs.
It was on one of these runs in 2008 that Megan said, “We should have a Mother’s Day Race. It would be so empowering to celebrate who we are and what we do.” With only five weeks before the day, Megan made it happen and expected about 40 women to show up. More than 400 showed up in Ridgefield on the day of the race. A kids’ race started the morning and then the mothers hit the trail. A take-off on how moms are always running around taking care of everyone else, the name seemed fitting, Run Like a Mother. With the overwhelming response that the race generated, Megan realized she had a great idea garnering energy and excitement.
Trade-marking her name and forming an LLC, Megan had her aunt help with her logo which depicted the evolution of a mom’s life of running from pregnancy, to pushing a stroller, to running with kids, to running free. Friends and family stepped in again to guide her path. One of her running friends worked for Salt Communications Company and when a partner of the company heard about the event, he reached out to Megan. They formed a partnership which seemed to be a good fit in order to allow Megan to expand her mission to other cities around the country. A no money deal, Megan is personally not in the black yet, having donated all race proceeds to several charities, but she is making plans for profits in the future.
Offering a Sunday training program in tandem with race registration, Megan organizes guest speakers at the weekly training sessions covering topics including sports massage, physical therapy and running techniques among other things. So each week participants can meet for a warm up and then split into one of four training levels from beginner to expert, to train for the upcoming Run Like a Mother Race. “I don’t want it to be intimidating, my goal is to motivate women to get outside and run,” says Megan.
With her new partner – there’s only one of me – Run Like a Mother races were held in Portland and Naperville, IL in 2011 because the company has offices there. Again the response was great. So the race is now expanding to 9 more cities with the help of 9 women hired by Salt in each location, for May of 2012 and the partnership has plans to be in 25 cities by 2013.
“I post every day on Facebook. My goal is to not only give information on the technical aspects of running but also to motivate women to run.” Through her vision, she hopes to empower and enrich women’s lives through her business venture. With gear, merchandise, and training programs on the web site, 10,000 followers, and plans for a book, Megan is not sure where her mission will take her but she’s moving at a good pace, just like a mother.
You never know what is possible until you try.