Moms RUN This Town Sets the Pace at 5K/10K

The Union County chapter of Moms RUN This Town gather before the start off the group's first 5K/10K race event.  Credits: Susan Roselli Bonnell
Alex Tarlow (left) of event sponsor New Jersey Running Company and Erin Weil (right), event organizer and founder of the Union County chapter of Moms RUN This Town  Credits: Susan Roselli Bonnell
Katherine Dreyer (left) and Christine Chaillet (right) joined the club to get back in shape and meet other moms.  Credits: Susan Roselli Bonnell
City Sports, recently opened in Westfield, was a co-sponsor of the event. Credits: Susan Roselli Bonnell
Katherine Dreyer and her two biggest supporters, sons Tommy and Andrew.  The boys ran in the special "Kids Run" after the moms' race was finished. Credits: Susan Roselli Bonnell
Erin Weil, center, prepares to start the race. Credits: Erin Weil
At the starting line. Credits: Susan Roselli Bonnell
Some moms ran alone, others brought their children along for the ride. Credits: Elizabeth Parascandola Clee
Turning a curve on the race course. Credits: Elizabeth Parascandola Clee
The children painted banners to welcome their moms to the finish line. Credits: Erin Weil
Two girls rang cowbells at the finish line to welcome the racers. Credits: Susan Roselli Bonnell

CLARK, NJ - The Union County chapter of Moms RUN This Town held their first race event on Saturday morning in Oak Ridge Park. About 25 moms, their children and some supportive husbands turned out for the race.  Participants could choose a 5K or 10K distance. Most ran alone, but several moms ran with a child in a stroller.  A special Kids Run took place after the moms had finished.

Moms RUN This Town is a free running club with more than 400 chapters throughout the United States.   The Union County, NJ chapter was founded by Erin Weil in April 2013.  “I had just had my second child and wanted to get back in shape.  I started out running alone, but wanted to find running partners,” said Weil, “The closest local chapter was in Bridgewater and that was just too far, so I decided to start my own.”  The group started with just ten active members and has grown, in just over a year, to more than 250.

“The purpose of the club is really to provide inspiration and motivation to run.  The club promotes a healthy lifestyle and is a way for moms to meet other moms,” said Weil.

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Like Weil, Katherine Dreyer of Scotch Plains began looking for running partners after her second son was born.  She joined the group shortly after it began and found the motivation and companionship that she was looking for.  She said that all levels of runner are welcomed into the club and that “No matter what kind of a runner you are, we can all run together.”

Christine Chaillet, also from Scotch Plains, started running after her son was born, too. “I didn’t run, but you just get to the point where you know you want to do something. This group is so inspiring.  You start to think you can do the impossible. My goal was to run a 5K before my son turned one,” she said.  Chaillet met her goal and is now an avid runner.  She’s in training for a “hat trick,” a 5K, 10K and half marathon all run over two days, that she will run in this fall.

The club maintains a calendar of regularly scheduled runs.   There are group-runs twice a week at Nomahegan Park in Cranford.   Many of the runs take place early in the morning so moms can sneak out for some personal time before work, kids and the daily routine takes over.   Impromptu runs are organized by individual members through the group’s very active Facebook page.

Weil said that newcomers often find the club’s monthly “Moms and Kids Run” held in Westfield’s Tamaques Park to be a welcoming way to meet other members and get started.  While the group draws many of its members from Clark, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Westfield and Cranford, any mom from Union County who’d like to run is encouraged to join the group.  The club is planning to start a “Couch to 5K” group especially for new runners.

Sponsors of the Saturday event were New Jersey Running Company and City Sports, both in Westfield, and Shoprite of Clark.

Read about City Sports' recent Grand Opening at TAP into Westfield.

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