Celebrating our Mother Runners
Not to take anything away from all the Father Runners out there, but today on Mother’s Day (you knew it was Mother’s Day, right???), we thought we would celebrate a few of the Mother Runners in our community.
Evie Quah, Kareen Lai, Stephanie Lim and Zoey Wong are mothers, runners and friends who share a love of running and fitness, and this week spent some time talking with us about how they balance their responsibilities to their careers, their families and themselves.
L-R: Kareen, Stephanie, Evie & Zoey. There's never a dull moment with these ladies!
RDRC: How did the four of you meet and become friends?
EVIE: Fifteen years ago we were all Physical Education Trainee Teachers. We met in the training institute. We kept in touch after we graduated, went trekking in Nepal together, and signed up for races together now and then. When we started popping kids in 2010 (Kareen), 2011 (Evie and Zoey) and 2012 (Steph, Zoey and Evie), we had more topics to bond over, but still weren’t meeting up often except for occasional playdates and birthday parties with the kids. We kept in touch mostly because we all had the same philosophy about bringing up our kids, pursuing values-driven active lifestyles.
The friends, community, and experiences we earned along the way were what spurred us to continue on our fitness journeys. We have very supportive parents, in-laws and spouses who understand and fill in the gaps when we are training, and we really wouldn't be able to do what we do without their help. Over the past four years, we have encouraged many other mummy friends to take time out to work out, to be active and to pursue their own interests. And that makes us even more motivated to continue with our own active lifestyles.
RDRC: What role does sport play in your homes?
EVIE: My husband and I believe in exposing children to as many experiences as possible when they are young, eager to learn and not afraid to try or fail. Since they were three, we signed them up for swimming, badminton and football lessons and dabbled a little in kickboxing and rollerblading. We signed them up for fun run 1.5km road races, The Jungle Race, and recently the Metasprint Duathlon. Now our elder son is into climbing and the younger one is an avid cyclist, clocking 20+km rides weekly. Children model after adults, and when my children see mummy leaving the house to work out, they understand that sports should be a way of life.
ZOEY: My husband is a runner too and we take turns running away from our kids! We share a calendar and very often we ‘chope’ our running days and slots so that we get our time out to ‘train’ (actually it’s to have some adult conversations and take many photographs at where we run). Planning and making time to spend together with him and my friends really needs effort, but I’ve made a choice to prioritise doing more of the things that make me happy! After all, I’m the only person who can give my children a happy mother, so I just keep running!
My crazy tribe and I have raced in Pulai Ultra, Cameron Ultra, Borneo Ultra Trail Marathon, Ultra Trail Tai Mo Shan, TransLantau, Ultra Trail Australia and many local races. Precious and priceless memories made possible only with a supportive and hands-on husband!
Zoey is mum to a girl and two boys. She only began to run regularly when they all signed up for their first ultra, a multistage race in DMZ, South Korea in 2017.
RDRC: Was it difficult to get into running, or get back into running, after pregnancy?
KAREEN: I have never been much of a runner; I see myself more as a climber and an outdoor enthusiast, but I am now a women’s fitness coach and educator who specialises in helping postnatal mums heal and get stronger safely. At the same time, I’m mum to a pair of 11-year-old twins and a 2-year-old boy. After having my twins in 2010, I tell everyone that “Raising babies is like a never-ending ultramarathon!” I still have not run a full marathon, and I consider myself a novice runner, but in 2017, some friends got me to sign up for the DMZ 100km stage race in Korea. After I became pregnant again in 2019, it took a long time to get my fitness back. Heading out for even a 30-minute run/walk during that period was one of the easiest ways to help myself decompress and get some fresh air. It helped me keep my sanity.
STEPHANIE: I’ve always been active and enjoy playing sports with friends. However, as I grew older, there were fewer opportunities, and with work and family commitments, exercise was not my priority. Occasionally, I would go for short runs, but there were always compelling reasons to skip my runs (e.g. taking care of my two boys, feeling very tired …). The turning point came after the birth of my second son, now six years old, when a group of mummy friends asked me along for longer runs and we decided to sign up for races together. Our first overseas race was a stage ultra in South Korea in 2017, which pushed us to train together. I remember having to sneak out of the house for morning runs to avoid waking my children, or they would not let me out of the house! With encouragement from my family and my husband, who would take care of babysitting, I am now able to enjoy my runs and the overseas races. Also, having a supportive group helps with accountability! I love my tribe!
Kareen has a 11-year old twins (a girl and a boy) and a 2-year old son. A women’s fitness coach & educator, she specialises in helping postnatal mums heal and get stronger safely. Her postpartum fitness training, Fit Mummy Nation, has online classes, tips and advice for all mums at any stage who want to regain, maintain or kickstart their fitness.
RDRC: What appeals to you most about running?
KAREEN: I love trail running for the beautiful, breathtaking and unkempt scenery that reminds me of how big the world is and provides scale for our daily challenges as mums. I run for the love of freedom. I run to enjoy the company of my tribe and community. I run so that I can keep up with my children on their bikes. And I run to enjoy a running date out with my husband! There are so many reasons to run!
STEPHANIE: Running helps to build my resilience. After every run, I come home feeling mentally stronger and feel like I can take on the world (or rather, my kids!). I believe I can be a good role model to my children by showing them the benefits of engaging in an active lifestyle!
Stephanie has two boys, the youngest being 6. Her seemingly boundless energy and propensity for keeping the tribe entertained with her antics is an endless source of laughter for the group. There are reports that she can effect up to 42 supermodel poses non-stop when faced with a camera.
RDRC: What’s your “pro tip” for fitting running (or any other fitness activity) into a busy lifestyle?
KAREEN: I struggle between choosing to spend time with the kids or go out for a run, so I wake up at 5 a.m. to run, and I don’t like it!
ZOEY: To squeeze out more time for doing what I love, I’ve been going for 4:40 a.m. runs to clock 10km before work and parenting starts.
There's no end of stories to share with these four.
Thanks to our Mother Runners for making time to speak with us, we had great fun getting to know these inspirational "Fit Mummies" better! Their energy is infectious and they really rocked the rabbit Mother Runner tops and repeats 4" shorts!
Check 'em out in the shop or online at www.rdrc.sg/collections/mother-runner.
Follow Kareen on Instagram @FitMummyNation or https://lintr.ee/kareenlai
Happy Mother's Day!