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Moms Run This Town

Featured Photo from Moms Run This Town

There’s a powerful group of women in Seminole County, who, in every sense of the phrase, are going the extra mile for each other. These inspiring women are members of the Seminole County, Florida chapter of Moms Run This Town (MRTT), part of a nationwide nonprofit organization dedicated to creating free local running clubs to help support and motivate women in their running journey.

There’s a powerful group of women in Seminole County, who, in every sense of the phrase, are going the extra mile for each other. These inspiring women are members of the Seminole County, Florida chapter of Moms Run This Town (MRTT), part of a nationwide nonprofit organization dedicated to creating free local running clubs to help support and motivate women in their running journey.

Before sunrise, showers, getting the kids off to school, and beginning the day’s work, women across Seminole County are waking up to run with each other and focus on improving their health and it’s changing their lives.

The local MRTT chapter was born in 2014 and manages its activity primarily through a private group on Facebook. In the last year alone, the group has grown by 350 new members across the county and now includes more than 750 local women.

Current chapter leader and Oviedo resident Okely Cruz organizes runs and maintains communication within the group along with area run organizers Angie Fontes from Lake Mary and Storey Landis from Altamonte Springs. Each week, these three ladies create a list of many different scheduled runs in which members can join. Depending on their schedules and locations, members are encouraged to join in on a run that is most convenient. There are up to 24 weekly scheduled group runs across the county with most occurring in the very early morning.

Because it’s difficult for busy moms to stick to an exercise routine, group members always encourage and remind each other to show up for runs. The group welcomes all fitness levels, including walkers, and makes sure that no walker or runner is left behind.

Altamonte Springs resident and run organizer Storey Landis discovered MRTT through a coworker. Storey admits she was never an active runner prior to joining the group. She began by participating in a running challenge with two other friends, and then after reading about upcoming MRTT events and seeing other inspirational runners’ stories, Storey became more active.

“If someone asked me to run in the past, I would’ve said no,” says Storey. “But this group has inspired me through many motivational running challenges.”

Today Storey organizes various running meet-ups in the Altamonte area including a regular early-morning run at Cranes Roost Park. Although the park is currently under construction, runners still continue to meet near the park and have slightly altered their three-mile route.

As with many runners, there have been times when Storey wanted to stop running, but she says her MRTT members always change her mind, and she keeps going.

“These women are supportive in every way, and they are a great group to be a part of,” Storey says.

Any MRTT member will quickly tell you there is always a whole lot of fun in their runs. Not only do they have regular meet-ups, but the group has also been known to complete scavenger hunts, join nearby races, host social meet and greets, and occasionally enjoy a “bRUNch” after the end of a long run. Each week, members post their group “Shoesie” (like a selfie, but with shoes) photo to celebrate their run. They also participate in a chapter-wide “You’ve Been Flipped” game played with the MRTT magnets they display on their car.

“When we see another MRTT magnet, we flip it to let them know that another member was in their area,” says Angie, the run organizer from Lake Mary. “It’s exciting and fun to also see that someone flipped your magnet, and no matter where you go, you’ll find someone who is part of the group.”

National MRTT chapters also host virtual runs, but unique to the Seminole County chapter is the way the local group builds on those virtual runs to complete a true 5K event during the summer and winter seasons.

MRTT also does its part to give back to the community by incorporating community service in many of its running events. Last October, the Seminole County chapter raised awareness for SafeHouse of Seminole. Members showed up to various runs wearing purple and altogether made a donation to SafeHouse’s Paint It Purple program to help advocate against domestic violence. MRTT members have also participated in Pet Rescue by Judy fundraising runs, held events to help raise breast cancer awareness, and organized the “12 Runs of Christmas” to support the Toys for Tots program.

Although MRTT started out with only mothers, every chapter has always included all women. To emphasize this, the national chapter recently added an additional title of She Runs This Town to the organization’s official name.

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