Fitness trend: Marathon running

Running marathons isn’t just for seasoned athletes. Anyone can learn to run and try this fitness trend. For one mother and daughter, it’s not only a way to stay in shape, but also a way to stay connected to each other.

Fitness trend: Marathon running

The two women train in different places and spend only a few minutes of their road races together’but mom and daughter count on each other as an absolutely essential running partner. It all started about three years ago when Bobbi-Jo Lodewyks, 35, was fed up with the extra 30 pounds she was carrying after two pregnancies. Over six months, she gradually moved from power walking to running almost every day until she was able to run five kilometres. ‘I crave it now; it is so much a part of my day that when I don’t run, I feel like my day is not complete,’ says the teacher’s aide, who lives in Winnipeg. ‘It just feels so good and it rejuvenates me.’

Learning to run

Lucie Lagasse, 60, an elementary school library technician, was so inspired by her daughter’s new passion that she signed up for a women’s ‘learn to run‘ class offered in her town of St. Adolphe, about 30 kilometres south of Winnipeg. ‘At 58, I was the oldest in the group, but I was ready for the challenge!’ she says. At the hour-long class, Lucie alternated running and walking, working her way up to 10 minutes of running and one minute of walking. After three months (which included several weekly practice runs outside of the class), she could run five kilometres. ‘I was so, so proud of her,’ says Bobbi-Jo.

By that fall, Bobbi-Jo had a number of 5K and 10K races under her belt, and Lucie asked her daughter to join her for her first race, a 10K charity run near her small town. Recalls Bobbi-Jo: ‘I was really honest and said, ‘Mom, I’m not going to run the whole way with you because I want to have my best time, so I’ll see you at the end.’ Her mom agreed wholeheartedly, and the pair pumped each other up at the starting line, shouted ‘woot woot!’ when their paths crossed during the route, and jumped up and down together at the finish line. (For the record, Bobbi- Jo did finish ahead of her mom.) They had so much fun they did the same race again the following year.

A new lifestyle

Today, Bobbi-Jo runs for about an hour almost every day, covering seven to 10 kilometres, and those extra 30 pounds are long gone. Lucie runs about five kilometres three times a week, and is healthier overall; she no longer has to take daily cholesterol-lowering medication. Best of all, this mom and daughter are closer than ever. They talk every day and compare notes about their runs, routes and gear.

Their next run? The Manitoba Marathon in June: the half-marathon for Bobbi-Jo, and the 10K route for Lucie. Says Bobbi-Jo: ‘My seven-year-old daughter and nine-year-old son will be there to cheer for Mom and Grand-maman!’

This article was originally titled "Cheering each other on" in the May 2012 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!