Honk if this scene sounds familiar. It’s early morning, and you drive to a four-way stop sign and check for traffic. You pause as a woman running with a double-wide stroller loaded with two kids, ranging in age from 6 months to 6 years, passes you and gives a wave.
Not only are you sitting comfortably in a car as she passes, but perhaps you haven’t even made it to the gym yet today, so you might feel a slight pang of envy, or perhaps a smidge of guilt, as you watch this super athlete pass your car.
Saturday is the first-ever National Stroller Running Day, started by a fitness visionaries who themselves have pushed tots on the go – among them Katie McFarland from Moms Little Running Buddies, BOB brand strollers, the group Moms In Training, Lara Coffee from Run Stroller Run, and Lisa Druxman of FIT4MOM (Full disclosure, I'm a FIT4MOM instructor).
The day is meant to encourage parents who take their kids with them for runs. According to Running USA, recreational running in the US has grown exponentially since the 1990s, when roughly 4.5 million people finished road races, compared with more than 19 million finishers in 2013.
While that is still only a sliver of the US population, it is growing. And along with it, the presence of both women runners ticking off miles while pregnant and parents running after baby arrives, with the help of a running stroller.
For many parents, moms in particular, having a baby can put fitness plans on hold. Increasingly that no longer has to be the case with more stroller manufacturers building strollers specific to running, and postpartum fitness groups becoming more available.
It has been almost a year since I completed my first marathon pushing a stroller. It was a special chance to celebrate and commemorate the first months of motherhood (my son was almost a year old at the time) and push myself as an athlete. He enjoyed a 26.2 mile tour of our city in the stroller while I chugged away the miles behind him pushing his chariot. I packed enough snacks and toys to pass the time, and he even earned the distinct privilege of saying he has napped in the middle of a marathon!
For those parents intrigued by the idea of taking their little ones along for a workout (no marathons required!), an online search for “jogging strollers” will provide resources for serious athletes and weekend warriors who are interested in finding a strollers with larger rear wheels and a locking front tire for more stability and safety to run on the road and off.
Parents can also look for stroller divisions for shorter road races in their area, or groups like FIT4MOM, a national program with franchises around the country, that specifically offers fitness classes for moms with strollers.
To celebrate National Stroller Running Day, visit Twitter to find all of the parents hitting the road with strollers, and posting their pictures with the #strollerun14 tag. Who knows, you might just find that inspiration you need to leave the car behind and join that mom with the double wide stroller.