Mother’s Day run/walk set for May 13

The Run Like a Mother Four Mile Run/Walk event is set for May 13 at Island Park in Cedar Falls. The race begins at 8:30 a.m. and will be held in honor in the Iowa Women’s Foundation. Registration packet pickup is available at the Runner’s Flat on May 12 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., as well as on the day of the event beginning at 7 a.m.

Do you HAVE a mother? Do you KNOW a mother? Are YOU a mother? If any of the questions above apply to you, the annual Run Like a Mother Four Mile Run/Walk in honor of the Iowa Women’s Foundation may be something you want to participate in.

This 4 mile Run/Walk takes place on May 13, the day before Mother’s Day, at Island Park in Cedar Falls. The  race begins at 8:30 a.m., with the kids run following at 9:30 a.m. Pre-race registration and packet pick up is held at the Runner’s Flat on May 12 from 4:30-6:30 and is also the day of the race beginning at 7 a.m.

The race has been directed by Suzy Freedman, a Chick’s for Change member for 14 years, with help from the Chicks for Change committee.  As well as directing the event for 14 years, Freedman has run in the race each year, placing in her age group every year. She and the Chicks for Change committee makes sure the race honors women as well as appreciates them, although runners do not have to be women to participate.

All of the proceeds of the race go to the Iowa Women’s Foundation, and details are listed at iawf.org The IWF awards annual grants to programs that benefit women and girls in Iowa. Grants from the Foundation are intended to promote social change, particularly in small, grass-root organizations that often do not receive grant funding from traditional sources. The mission of the IWF is to bring about a more just society by supporting the empowerment of all women and girls throughout the state of Iowa.

Regarding why the focus on women and girls, the IWF site said, “The IWF has made great strides in helping women and girls across Iowa—but there’s still a lot of work to be done. In Iowa, women and children make up 87 percent of the poor and 85 percent of the homeless. Iowa is ranked second-to-last in the nation in the increase in women-owned businesses. Though Iowa has more women voters than men, only 22 percent of Iowa state legislators are female.”

The site also explained,  “When women do well, communities do well. Studies have shown that women worldwide reinvest an average of 90 percent of their resources in food, education and health care for their families, while men reinvest 35–40 percent. When 10 percent more girls go to secondary school, a country’s economy grows by three percent, and companies with women on their boards average a 4 percent higher net income than companies with no female directors.”

Last year, the Boys and Girls Club of the Cedar Valley received $1,500 for their SMART Girls program focused on enhancing physical and emotional health in young women. The Cedar Valley Friends of the Family also received $5,000 for their Safe Shelter & Housing Stability program aimed at providing emergency safe shelter and homeless prevention services to victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence, and the House of Hope, a transitional house for homeless mothers and their children, received $10,000 to provide case management support to participants who are either working or in school.

The IWF is active in the Cedar Valley area through the group Chicks for Change. They host many events, including Run Like a Mother; Dine and Unwind; and the Ovation Tribute.  Dine and Unwind is held at Montage every December and is a chance for women and others to learn about the IWF and network with community members. This event allows people to relax for one night during the busy holiday season while warm appetizers are served by up by Montage. In keeping with its mission of improving the lives of women and girls in Iowa, the Iowa Women’s Foundation publishes OVATION: A Tribute to Iowa’s Women and Girls each year. This book provides a fun and unique way to pay tribute to a woman or girl in one’s life. People choose to honor someone they know and ask that person’s friends and family to contribute to a tribute for the person that is included in the yearly Ovation book. All money raised goes directly to the IWF.

Run Like a Mother is unique in the fact that it is the only four mile run in the community, so it is a change from the traditional 5k race. There are also about as many walkers as there are runners. A lot of the walkers are there to walk the cause with their family, have a good time and get their exercise on. Many past participants have stated that the Run Like A Mother Run/Walk was the first race they have ever participated in. The race is also unique in that each year there is a different logo design for the T-shirt and poster. The logo designer volunteers time and talent when creating the logo.

As soon as one crosses the finish line, they are greeted with warm smiles and a post-race party. Cup of Joe coffee and Hy-Vee bagels, fruit and chocolate milk take over the tables. Elements also offers complimentary massages for loads of Cedar Valley people as music fills the atmosphere of Island Park. Many local shops, businesses and  restaurants sponsor the run each year by donating money, gift cards, food and prizes. This enables Run Like a Mother to provide the runners with amenities and prizes. The fastest male and female runner usually get a $50 gift card to Montage or the Brown Bottle as well as a framed print of the poster for the year.

As the last walkers join the post-race party, the kids from ages two to 10 start to line up for the kids’ race. They run to the balloon at the end of the block and back to get their candy necklace and a high five and hug from their parents.

Those who have ever participated in the Run Like a Mother race know a highlight of the event is the award ceremony/raffle. The top three male and female runners are awarded medals and generous prizes as well as eight other age groups all the way  to 70 and up. Runners are also selected at random by their bib number to win prizes, including gift cards, framed artwork and much more from local businesses such as the Runner’s Flat, Jiva, Miss Wonderful, Elements Massage, Cup of Joe, Montage and many more generous businesses

One can still support the IWF, even if they cannot make the race on Saturday, May 13 through participating online. For those who aren’t able to be there in person, they can be there in spirit as virtual runners. A virtual runner commits to running or walking four miles on their own, either on the course, or on their own course and just needs to register online.  Their T-shirt will be sent in the mail. Those who chose not to commit to the race can also donate or give gifts to the IWF in honor of courageous women they know.

For more information on the run and how to register visit https://secure.getmeregistered.com/get_information.php?event_id=126401

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