Ah, springtime in Atlanta… when the number of awesome, fun, run-for-a-cause 5Ks can only be matched by the alarmingly high number in the pollen count. Seriously, if you’re looking to spend one – or all – of your Saturday mornings trucking 3.1 miles, chances are, you need look no farther than your neighborhood square. With so many races to choose from, the MamaBear 5K, 10K, and Cub Run caught my eye because… well, I’m a mama bear and I have cubs who like to run. (The race description also says “fast and flat” and I’m all about the “fast and flat” circuit.) I caught up with first-time race coordinator Beverly Sandel to find out a little more about what MamaBear means and why we should run this race.
MamaBear is a catchy race name – especially for a Mother’s Day weekend race. Tell us more about the race and why it’s important.
This is the fourth MamaBear race, and we decided that if we were going to host a race on Mother’s Day weekend, we had to call it the MamaBear. Every mom understands what the name means, and this race has a little something for everyone (5K, 10K, Cub Run). We wanted to offer a race that celebrates the family as a whole. It’s tough when you have multiple kids going in every direction, with different interests and carpool times. This race celebrates something that anyone can do: run! I have had moms come up to me on race day, crying and saying that this was the one thing they wanted for Mother’s Day — to be together and have fun. This race brings families together. We have dads with joggers, moms with joggers, professional runners, single folks running with their moms, and tons of kids from local track clubs. Because we run this race to raise funds for LifeGate, it is important to match values, which center around hope and healing with emotional and physical wellness. This race seems like the perfect fit for finding joy within the family and raising awareness of this hope to others who might be struggling.
You stole the segue right out of my mouth. Lots of races are fundraisers for nonprofits. How does LifeGate do the work of doing good?
LifeGate provides hope through emotional healing with outstanding counseling. Their group offers counseling for every “gate” of life. They have several specialists who are qualified for the kind of counseling a person or couple might need, including specialists on children, addiction, loss, and grief. They have marriage counselors and intensive programs as well. They even offer enrichment programs for personal development. Hope through emotional healing comes from quality counseling that every person should be able to afford. Proceeds from the MamaBear race offer a reduced fee option for people who deserve quality counseling but cannot afford it. LifeGate also partners with rehabilitation services that help people transition out of homelessness or joblessness. LifeGate will provide no-cost services for those clients.
That’s pretty awesome. Races are such great metaphors for setting goals and overcoming challenges – I think this is a great match. But, tell it to us straight: The course description says “fast and flat.” True story? And what’s the deal with the Cub Run? (Am I too old for that?)
Well, my sister (the occasional runner) does NOT think this route is “fast and flat” (sorry, Amy!). But if you are a runner, this race is fast with a slight and gradual incline just to make it fun. The route is beautiful! The houses on Valley Road are a perfect distraction to this “fast and flat” race. And, there’s a 5K, 10K, and Cub Run so runners can choose whatever is comfortable for them; although, the Cub Run (which is almost a mile in length) is typically ages 5 to 7. Younger Cub Runners start in back with mom or dad behind them and usually end up riding on their shoulders. It’s very cute.
Other than registering for the race, are there ways people can support LifeGate?
Anyone can become a “Champion for Change” by being a donor to LifeGate. These donations allow team members at LifeGate to participate in extended training opportunities and then use those new skills to bring emotional healing to others. These funds also mean that no one gets turned away from the center because they can’t pay.
This is your first year as race director. Is that something you’ve always dreamed of doing?
Yes, this is my first year! The only race I have ever coordinated before this was a 5K I hosted for my husband’s 40th birthday. It was awesome! We are big runners in our family, so being a race coordinator lets me play in own backyard. It’s time consuming, but I have loved getting to meet sponsors and share the vision for LifeGate Counseling Center. And I am married to the director of the center, so that makes it even closer to home!
The name of the race also hits close to home because my nickname in high school was “Mama B.” I was always herding people around and making plans for everyone. I was student council president, head cheerleader, and homecoming queen. I have always been a MamaBear. I have letter jacket to prove it… wanna see it?
See it? I want it!
Check out the MamaBear 5K, 10K and Cub Run to do something fun with your family on Mother’s Day weekend!