After four-time marathoner Helena Scott gave birth to her son in the summer of 2011, she was looking for a way to get back in shape. The Senior Campaign Director at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS), an organization that raises funds to fight blood cancers, missed being active. At a friend’s suggestion, she signed up for a mom-baby fitness program in nearby Madison Square Park.
She enjoyed the program, especially meeting similar-minded moms. “I was inspired by being able to find an outlet where I could feel good about myself physically and…work out with my baby, which I didn’t think was possible,” Scott says.
“When I returned to work I was looking for a way to combine my new life as a mom with my passion for the work I do at LLS,” she continues. Scott realized she could introduce Team in Training—a signature LLS fundraising program that prepares participants for endurance events—to a new group: moms without the time, ability or inclination to train for a marathon but who still wanted to stay in shape and make a difference.
“The cause hits home for moms,” Scott explains. “Leukemia is one of the leading causes of death of children under the age of 17.” In part due to the work of organizations like LLS, the survival rate for blood cancers is over 90 percent today, as compared to 4 percent in 1960. “But to those [families] who have lost children, 90 percent isn’t good enough,” she says.
Riding on the success of last year’s pilot, Scott and LLS are expanding the program. This spring, there will be five training locations: Madison Square Park and Central Park in Manhattan, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Astoria Park in Queens and Clove Lake Park in Staten Island. Moms will train together for one hour each Saturday over eight weeks to prepare for the Mini 10K on June 8 in Central Park.
Never run a day in your life? No problem! Moms In Training is geared toward moms looking to benefit from the fitness program, meet other moms and raise money for a good cause—not set a world record. “The great thing about the program is that it caters to all levels,” Scott says. “Over 65 percent are complete beginners.”
Under the guidance of experienced coaches—moms themselves—who lead each workout, participants train to run, walk or run-walk the race. Each mom is also assigned a mentor who has raised money with Team in Training in the past.
“The goal of the program is to moderately build you up to complete 6.2 miles,” Scott says. “The race itself is optional.”
Scott’s own goal is more ambitious: 100 moms and $100,000. The minimum fundraising amount is $500 per participant, but considering the average mom raised $1,500 during the pilot program, Scott believes the target is attainable.
The best part? Babies and strollers are more than welcome at workouts but not required. Scott says that moms last year didn’t always bring their children, choosing instead to take time for themselves and bond with other moms.
Moms In Training
What: An eight-week training program that readies moms for a 10K on June 8.
Where: Five locations in four boroughs.
When: Saturdays from 9-10 am, April 13 through June 1.
Why: Get in shape, meet other moms and raise money to fight blood cancer.
Who: Experienced coaches, mentors, other moms and you. Babies are welcome but optional!