Inclusive Running: a run club for all

The human spirit is one of ability, perseverance and courage that no disability can steal away.

Years ago I was in the middle of a long run when suddenly I was struck by a question; why are there no run clubs or programs for individuals with special needs?

As a mom to a child with significant needs, I’m always on the lookout for programs that will provide exercise, social engagement and opportunities for accomplishment for my child. And I worry about adulthood–what will he do for fun, to stay active, to socialize?

And that’s when it hit me. Maybe I should be the one to do this…to create an inclusive run club that teaches others about the life long joy found in running with friends.

But I told myself I’m too busy. Three kids with special needs, teaching classes, training for ultras, running a household….when would I do it? Instead, I spent time volunteering in the special needs community when I could. I told myself that was enough.

Then last summer, my son participated in an adaptive triathlon through Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. He loved it so much–the joy, the pride–it was overwhelming! The first thing he asked when it was over is if he could do it again next week. That’s when I knew I had to make my dream into a plan.

But life happens. Hospital stays, doctor appointments, therapies and never ending obstacles riddle your life when parenting 3 kiddos with special needs. But again I was struck with a thought; how could I not want to give back to this sport that has literally saved my life? How could I put this off one more moment? Here is my chance to GIVE and share my gifts with others, so that they can, in time, do the same.

So here I am, bringing my dream into fruition. I have launched an inclusive running club in Nashville for ALL ages and ALL abilities. I have big plans for this group and I’m excited to see where we go from here!

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