Stroller Warriors® has been a part of my life now for almost 10 years! I first heard about this running club while at 29 Palms California. We moved there in the summer of 2013 with a 2-year-old, and I was around 30 weeks pregnant. I met someone at a playground who also had a boy close in age. After finding out I liked to run, she mentioned that a running club was starting up on base! SW29 started that November, and I attended my first workout shortly thereafter. I was in a new place with a toddler and a newborn, so having this running club start-up was perfect timing!
If you have ever been to 29 Palms, you know there's not a whole lot to do in the desert. However, I will say, 29 Palms holds a special place in my heart, and it is all because of Stroller Warriors. I have been running pretty much my whole life as I participated in track and cross-country throughout middle school. But I never really loved to run, it was just a way to get exercise. That all changed once I found how fun running could be with the right people running alongside me! SW29 pushed me to do things I never thought I would do, like running a marathon and participating in the SW’s hosted Triathlon. I became a workout leader for SW29 in March of 2014. Little did I know our family's life was about to get some unwelcome news. That same month my husband was sent to Balboa Medical Center where he was diagnosed with colon cancer at 29 years old. I still remember soon after finding out, going on a long weekend run with four other Stroller Warriors-- even though I had not known them for long, I felt their love and support as I told them what we were going through. The military was willing to move us to be closer to Balboa since my husband needed chemo treatments every 2 weeks for 6 months. But the support we had from SW29, as well as his unit, made it an easy decision for us to stay and make the drive. The founder and current coordinator at SW29, Megan, wanted to help in any way possible. Of course, the chapter quickly organized and supplied a meal train for us. But Megan went a step further and wanted to fundraise for us too. Our family felt so supported already, so we asked that the fundraising efforts be donated to the San Diego Fisher House where I was staying with our 3-year-old and 7-month-old during my husband's treatments. If you are unfamiliar with the Fisher House, it is a nonprofit that offers free lodging as “a ‘home away from home’ for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers.” That October, the chapter ended up raising over $2,600 and the members ran a total of 20 miles around the desert!
I was then a chapter coordinator at 29 Palms from May 2015 until June 2016. That summer, we had orders to Quantico which had no SW chapter. However, luckily in October, Kelly opened a chapter! And while Kelly will joke that it took her forever to get me on her team, I came on the Headquarters team as a regional mentor in November of that year, and as a co-coordinator in Quantico a month later in December. I could not imagine my life without this club, and I wanted to try and give back as much as this club has given to me and my family. I am now stationed in Kaneohe Bay where I have been coordinating since December of 2019.
At this point, I absolutely love to run and do not necessarily need Stroller Warriors to get in my runs. But I keep coming back, even at this point when all our kids are now out of strollers and in school because Stroller Warriors is SO much more than just a running club. I am thankful for this club, which has given me lifelong friends even through this crazy military life. It is not just a group of runners, but a group of friends, who motivate and support you through life. It is an amazing example to our kids as it shows our hard work and that you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it. All three of our boys have grown up with Stroller Warriors. It is where they met their first friends, and it is always the first thing we look for and become involved with when we move to a new duty station. They all started in the stroller, graduated to riding alongside the stroller on their bikes, to even running with us! Our oldest, who is now almost 12, ran his first half marathon last year on his 11th birthday. He continues to amaze us with his running ambitions. Our middle, 9-year-old, ran multiple base 5ks here on the island and always surprises us when he ends up wanting to race and give it his all! Our youngest, who is 6, helped with training runs when my husband was out-of-town and is up to 6 miles on his bike. All three look forward to mini miles each summer and pushing themselves because they see the importance of being active and realize how much fun running can be! I cannot say enough about this wonderful club. It is a huge part of our life and that is why I continue to volunteer!
Community outreach is an important aspect of the Stroller Warriors® mission. Our chapters continue to coordinate and participate in outreach projects that benefit the community at large. At the onset of 2023, several of our chapters hit the ground running with the community outreach initiatives:
Stroller Warriors Kaneohe Bay organized a shoe collection of gently used shoes for Runners HI— accepting any style of shoes, but specifically running shoes. Runners HI will then distribute the shoes to those in need! Over a duration of 12 days, the SW leadership collected the shoes at scheduled workouts, or members could donate through a shoe drop option at a chapter coordinator’s home. The goal was to collect 50 pairs of shoes and the chapter far exceeded their goal with 125 pairs of shoes. Stroller Warriors Kaneohe Bay also continued with their monthly beach clean-up initiative. On the last Monday of each month, members gather at Fort Hase Beach for a beach sweep— dedicating an hour each month to collect microplastics and garbage at one of their favorite locations on base. Prior to beach clean-ups, the chapter leadership team provides gloves, bags, buckets and sifters.
Stroller Warriors Charleston kept busy spreading the word about Stroller Warriors and our dynamic and uplifting community. In January, the leadership team collaborated with a JB Charleston Military Family Life Counselor (MFLC) at a new spouse’s welcome coffee event at the Naval Weapons Station. Not only did the leadership speak about the Stroller Warriors community’s love and support, but they showed the group the unique aspects of Stroller Warriors by leading a dynamic stretch, organizing a small art activity by decorating lunch sacks, and by partaking in a community outreach initiative by filling the bags with snacks for the Low Country Blessing Box Project. Additionally, the Military and Family Readiness Center (MFRC) invited Stroller Warriors Charleston to speak and organize a resource table at the Loved Ones All-Call hosted by the 437 AW/OG in preparation for upcoming deployments. The chapter ended the month with a donation drive for the Charleston Fisher House— collecting a shopping cart filled with paper towels, toilet paper, tissues, cleaning supplies and snacks.
Stroller Warriors Fort Belvoir encouraged members to get moving through a month-long February Movement Challenge to raise awareness for Stop Soldiers Suicide. The mission of Stop Soldiers Suicide is simple, yet profound— to stop soldier suicide in all branches. SW leadership raised awareness of Stop Soldiers Suicide by urging participants to work together to achieve a 60-mile movement goal during February. They surpassed their 60-mile chapter goal and logged 417.53 miles! If you or someone you know has thought about suicide, please reach out for help. A 24/7 help line is available at 844-613-0403.
Thank you, Stroller Warriors, for your continued commitment to service! You are what makes this world a brighter place— one community outreach event at a time!
Running Grace and Courtesy!
Recently our family was sitting outside at a local restaurant- eating dinner and enjoying a break from the rain- when a group of runners came storming down the sidewalk of the bustling neighborhood downtown district during the dinner rush. I waited for the runners to demonstrate (what I believed to be) proper running etiquette. The aforementioned scenario became a conversation topic over dinner—runners and running etiquette they should exhibit:
Whether it be a race or a daily run, inform runners and walkers immediately in front that you are approaching and about to pass— “on your left/right” is a simple cue. No one wants to be spooked while walking their dog, or while having a conversation during a casual stroll down a sidewalk, because a runner pushed them out of the way. I have been in races where other runners brushed a sweaty arm against my shoulder while pushing to get ahead. Yuck! Needless to say, give a little shout to let people know you’re passing!
The curb hopper:
Growing up in Boston, I became a habitual sidewalk to street hopper—mostly preferring to run in the road to avoid tripping on broken sidewalks. However, I always paid close attention to traffic— hopping up on the sidewalk as cars approached. I am surprised to see how many runners stay in the road (parallel to the sidewalk) as cars try to pull in and out of parking spaces. These are situations where a runner needs to hop on the sidewalk!
There have been occasions when running that I have needed to spit (I know, it’s gross). I tried to cut this habit during the early stages of Covid and I was successful for a while, but I recently caught myself doing it again as the temperature increased. Several times while running around the base track I noticed saliva lingering on the inside lane (from other runners, not me)— this is not cool!
If you find yourself needing to spit while running be sure to:
1). Move to the side
2). Check for people behind you
3). Spit in the grass
4). If running with a friend/group, give them warning that this is a habit that happens while running
What is the runner’s wave? When passing by a fellow runner, all runners will give each other a little wave! There is nothing like a little wave to build community. Furthermore, a small wave adds more joy to the run!
Be it with a running group, or during a race, when hitting a difficult section of a course, or knocking out speed work and hill repeats, give a bit of encouragement to lift runners’ spirits and encourage them to keep on keeping on—“good job,” “keep it up,” or “looking strong,” can go a long way and give fellow runners the motivation to empty the tank through the finish.
It’s great to get out there and run wild and free, but be sure to keep those around you in mind!
Stroller Warriors has been part of our family since 2014. It’s been there for us through five assignments spanning two countries, and three states. We started Stroller Warriors as a family of three, and it’s been there since we expanded to a family of five (and the addition of a Black Lab who was recently referred by one member as the chapter’s official mascot). It’s supported the family through two deployments, countless TDYs, and the high-points, and low-points, of military life.
I have thoroughly enjoyed SW’s ever-welcoming disposition towards me during the times I could attend (I try to attend when I’m able to do so). Being part of SW for nearly 10 years, I’ve seen SW’s inviting nature positively impact the lives of so many military families. It goes without saying that SW always present a full-schedule of engaging running and fitness activities, but what I’ve really admired is the familial bond its creates amongst its members.
SW’s equally invites both those who are veteran Marathoners, as well as those who have never ran before. It accommodates all who attends, being indifferent to any member’s specific running or fitness goals, but always eager to help one achieve their goals whatever they might be. What I’ve always been impressed with is how the bonds created through fitness endure the test of time and distance. Some of our best family friendships (to this day) started on overseas runs nearly 10 years ago, and these friendships have thrived despite the test of time and distance. I know this is common to many SW families, and it’s a very positive and unique dynamic that really brings out the best parts of the at time challenging, but often rewarding lifestyles we lead as military families. For instance, we’ve had the opportunity to meet up with SW family friends, traveling back to Europe, to run races, and to reunite our children, as if no time passed at all. These are all good times, and we couldn’t ask a better crew to share these times with.
However, times can also be challenging…life happens, and I’ve seen SW unwaveringly support its members through these situations too- for both longstanding members, as well as brand-new members. I’ve observed an unbreakable bond, and loyalty amongst members during tougher times- deployments, illnesses, times of loneliness, even family deaths. SW members have offered the warm embrace of support through meal-trains, logistical support (babysitting, rides, etc), advice, and a willingness to listen to someone during difficult situations. This type of support is imperative to military families as they are often hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away from their families back at home. I can say firsthand that our family has leaned on SW when times were difficult, and I’ve seen SW offer the same support to its members at each of our assignments. This is important as SW proves its incredible value by standing by its members during the good times, but arguably more importantly, through the challenging times too.
So, though I can’t attend SW as often as I’d like, I can say without any hesitation, that I’m always welcomed during the times I can attend (for instance when I took a random day of leave earlier this week). More importantly, I know our family can always rely on SW in any situation, no matter what corner of the Earth we’re located. While attending SW earlier this week, there was a young family who newly PCS’d sharing a base park with SW families. Within minutes, a conversation began, and invite was made, and someone new to base was again welcomed by the ever-present force known as SW; thus, the cycle of support started again in the most positive way. To me, this support is what has made, currently makes, and will continue to make SW such a special and important force-multiplier.
This is the scenario: it’s been a rainy week and almost all of the Stroller Warriors workouts have been canceled due to the weather. You’re not in the mood to run on the treadmill, but need a change of scenery from the home workouts. Fear not! There are several options!
1). Poor weather is the number one reason to invest in a weather shield for the stroller! Rainy day runs are refreshing. Dress yourself and the kiddos appropriately and head out for a rainy day run. My children loved riding along in the stroller while listening to the rain tap against the weather shield. The rain never stopped us from making a pit-stop at the park— donned in rain coats, pants, and boots, the kids were always ready to hit the park, stomp in puddles , or to dig in the dirt after a run!
2). Pack up and make your way to the indoor gym basketball court on base. Although running with a stroller is not an option at the base gym, it is easy to run laps around the basketball court and watch the kids play. Avoiding the monotony of running laps around a basketball court can easily be done. Try setting a timer for 5 minutes and running close-wise, take a 1-minute break, followed by 5 minutes running counter clock-wise. Laps can even be broken up with a set a squats. And let’s not forget about shuttle runs up and down the court…ask the kids to race with or against you! The best part about running in the basketball gym is that the kids will want to join in too!
Left: Members of SW Charleston got caught in the rain during their Tuesday run! Right: The following day the chapter switched gears and ran inside at the base gymnasium!
3). Not a fan of the basketball court? Check out the parent-child area in the base gym. Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming trying to decide which exercise-machine to use. When I doubt, I usually opt for the rowing machine. Begin with 5-10 minutes of a dynamic stretch. For the main workout, try for a 3-5 minute warm-up on the rowing machine, followed by an interval row of 10 calories at a hard pace, 10 calories at a recovery pace for a total of 100 calories, and end with a 3-5 minute cool-down. This same scheme can be used on almost any cardio machine.
4). Find a covered picnic area and focus on strength training. Usually one of the parks on base will have a covered picnic area or gazebo- sometimes local communities have these areas too! Bring a box of chalk for the kids to use for drawing, or for making a hopscotch to burn some energy, all while you knock out some abs, pushups, squats, and don’t forget the burpees!
5). Jump! Take your kids to an indoor trampoline park…but instead of watching them from a crowded and uncomfortable bench, get a pass for yourself and jump away! Your kids will love having you jump with them, and trust me from experience, if you dedicate yourself to unbroken jumping for an hour, your calves will be screaming the next day (5 minutes at a time is a good lead-in to this one)!
Share your creativity, we’d love to hear what has worked for your and your little ones during a rainy week!
Organizing and taking part in community outreach initiatives is an important aspect of the Stroller Warriors® mission. Along with running and fitness goals, Stroller Warrior chapters strive to support the local military and civilian communities through charitable events, donation drives, community clean-ups, and philanthropic engagements.
On top of the Stroller Warriors Global Outreach initiatives, several of our chapters organized outreach initiatives for numerous local causes:
The Stroller Warriors Charleston had the opportunity to host a resource table on two separate occasions—once at an MFLC informational event and another at a squadron family event hosted by the Logistics Readiness Squadron. The leadership spoke about Stroller Warriors and its mission to over 300 military members, military spouses, and individuals from base supporting agencies.
The chapter also organized several donation drives—collecting food items to assemble Thanksgiving meal baskets for Katie’s Krops, by making and packaging 100 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the Low Country Blessing Box Project, by collecting 25 toys for Toys for Tots, and by donating over 15 dozen cookies to the Charleston Spouses Club for Operation Cookie Drop.
SW Charleston also presented at a local school’s STEM team explaining the biomechanics of running, and how a runner’s kinetic energy can be used to charge small devices.
Kaneohe Bay, Pearl Harbor and Schofield Barracks:
For the past several years, the SW chapters in Hawaii have collaborated and organized a silent auction benefitting Project Hawaii— a local nonprofit that provides services to over 1600 people annually across the Big Island of Hawaii, O’ahu, and Maui. Items for the auction were donated by chapter members, friends of SW, and local businesses. The auction was a smashing success that raised $1,589 for Project Hawaii.
Stroller Warriors Kaneohe Bay continued keeping their beloved location clean with their monthly beach clean-up events at Fort Hase. During the November and December holiday months, the chapter organized a week-long food donation drive for the Hawaii Food Bank and a toy collection for Toys for Tots—collecting 40 canned goods and 21 toy items.
Left: Piles of books collected by members for SW Cherry point; Right: SW Charleston members making lunches for the Low Country Blessing Box Project.
At the end of the summer mini-miles celebration event, Stroller Warriors Cherry Point organized a book drive for Carteret Partnership for Children—a local community organization that provides free books for children and supplies doctor’s offices with free books for children. Members donated 73 books for the cause!
Stroller Warriors Virginia Beach organized an outreach event for We Finish Together— a nonprofit that collects donated medals and adds inspirational tags to them to each medal before delivering them to individuals in need of a reminder that we are not alone. In total, the chapter donated 53 medals/creative tags for the organization.
In collaboration with November Project Virginia Beach, Team RWB Hampton Roads, and Run 757, 92 pounds of Halloween candy was donated to the USO of Hampton Roads and Central Virginia.
In order to work with an early drop off date, Stroller Warriors Yorktown organized a December toy collection for Toys for Tots at each December workout. Chapter members donated 25 items for Toys for Tots.
Thank you Stroller Warriors for our commitment to putting service before self and building stronger communities! Interested in joining? Please visit our website or our social media page to find a Stroller Warriors chapter near you!
Many of our Stroller Warriors® members attend base-wide informational sessions and/or post about their respective Stroller Warriors chapters on the base social media pages— spreading the word about the fun activities and dynamic Stroller Warriors community. Recently, volunteers from Stroller Warriors Charleston were invited to talk about Stroller Warriors during a monthly spouse’s coffee. Attendees asked the following questions about Stroller Warriors, and we thought it would be helpful to share!
1). Can my spouse and visiting family members/friends attend workouts and events with Stroller Warriors?
Yes! It is fantastic when spouses, family members, and friends attend workouts and other Stroller Warriors events. It gives our loved ones an opportunity to experience what Stroller Warriors is all about! Just make sure they sign the waiver and photo release forms.
2). What does a typical Stroller Warriors event look like?
At each workout, the workout leader will begin with introductions, followed by announcements (future events taking place, charity outreach initiatives, meal trains for members currently in place, etc.). The workout leader will explain the running portion of workout, which usually lasts anywhere between 25-45 minutes. A quick core workout will take place shortly after everyone returns from the run. Afterwards, members usually spend time together at the park or sometimes head out to grab lunch or coffee! Post workout time helps build community— it is a time to get to know new friends, learn about military life and the local area, and network!
3). Can I attend events if I do not have children, or my children are no longer stroller age?
Absolutely— all are welcome!
4). I want to run, but do not have a Stroller. What should I do?
Purchasing a jogging stroller can be expensive. There are several options if you do not have a stroller…
Yes, furry friends are welcome, but be sure they are on a leash. There are a couple of Stroller Warriors blogs about running with dogs that you may find helpful:
6). What other type of activities does Stroller Warriors organize other than running?
First and foremost, Stroller Warriors is a running group; however, each chapter organizes various volunteer opportunities, social gatherings, mini warriors sessions, warrior nights out, coffee dates, book clubs, etc. There truly is something for everyone!
7). Is Stroller Warriors singular to my base?
Stroller Warriors is a global organization with over 40 active chapters, one of which is our virtual chapter, Stroller Warriors Elsewhere! Please visit our website for a list of chapters:
8). I want to volunteer, but do not want to be a workout leader or coordinator. Can I still volunteer with Stroller Warriors?
Absolutely! Chapter Coordinators are always looking for volunteers to aid with social media, organize social and community outreach events, arrange summer mini warriors sessions, manage the yearly running initiative, and much more!
9). How much does it cost to join?
Nothing! Stroller Warriors is a FREE running club for military spouses and their families!
If you're interested in Stroller Warriors, please reach out to a local chapter!! Happy Running :)
When Stroller Warriors Workouts make it hard for the kids to want to go back to school!
It had been a fun holiday break filled with Stroller Warrior events, time with family at home, cooking, baking, and hiking. After 2 weeks off, everyone was back to school and/or work just a day or 2 after ringing in the New Year. My children were excited to go back to school and to see their friends, but they also wished for more time so that they could attend more Stroller Warrior workouts with me. Stroller Warriors played a part in their school breaks beginning in 2014 at Ramstein, and they still do!
Their first week of school break started with Stroller Warriors— the kids crashing the tail end of the Stroller Warriors Charleston holiday gathering after I picked them up on their last day before break. My youngest was thrilled to see her mini warrior friends as she proudly helped them up and down stairs and picnic table benches, while my older 2 grabbed some ornament crafts! At our last Monday workout of the year, SW members watched my kids as they created sand angles at the playground and tossed “sand balls” at each other in lieu of snowballs. In return, the kids watched and cheered as the adults chipped away at a “12 Days of Christmas” themed workout. When the weather turned wet and the workout moved indoors to the base gym, the kids happily played basketball and enjoyed intermittently running a lap, or sprinting out a shuttle run. Stroller Warrior friends didn’t think twice about letting my kids partake in a workout in the family room in the base gym—allowing my kids to rotate turns on the elliptical, stair stepper, and recumbent bike. These were all happy holiday memories made before 2022’s end, thanks to Stroller Warriors!
On the drive to school, I asked my kids what they loved so much about Stroller Warriors. Here are their responses:
I’m delighted to share these Stroller Warrior moments with my kids, especially because I know as they get older these moments will be few and far between. What do your children love most about Stroller Warriors?
Resiliency and strength are what comes to mind when reflecting upon Stroller Warriors® in 2022.
After two years of waiting and ever-changing health-protocol guidance, 2022 was the year that ALL our chapters were able to host in-person events for Stroller Warriors. Running together during a road race, or as part of a Ragnar team, once again became normal occurrences. Additionally, we accomplished numerous C25K sessions and celebratory graduation runs, members began staying longer after the workouts to connect with friends- old and new- while the little ones ran around the playground, and we resumed holiday gatherings with the Stroller Warriors family. After the world paused for COVID-19, both our volunteers and members remained resilient, bringing back these types of moments in 2022 that make Stroller Warriors a resilient and dynamic community.
Virtually, Stroller Warriors continued to create strong connections. Our 3rd annual Global Holiday Scavenger Hunt gave Stroller Warrior members a chance to connect virtually with running friends from earlier chapters— countless Stroller Warrior friends were delighted to see familiar Stroller Warrior faces running and keeping the community alive in an entertaining fashion…this year we had a record number of participants! The Run the World campaign has been, and still is, proving to be a smashing success with our members recently running a cumulative mileage exceeding the span of the Pacific Ocean— connecting Stroller Warriors Oak Harbor to Stroller Warriors Yokosuka!
In 2022 Stroller Warriors proved that we could thrive. Our hope for 2023 is to continue to run happy and enrich our friendships and military community by knowing the Stroller Warriors family is here— welcoming all with open arms. Come and run with us!
2022 HQ Holiday Gift Guide
It’s the most RUNderful time of the year! Are family members and friends wondering what to give you for Christmas? No problem! Stroller Warriors® HQ has a list of suggestions!
Read/learn about running tips, gear, or inspirational stories with a subscription to Runner’s World Magazine, or become food inspired with quick and healthy weeknight meals from Diane Walker:
Runners with plantar fasciitis know the importance of stretching the foot before getting out of bed, prior to running, and continually throughout the day. HQ has two recommendations to help relieve the discomfort from plantar fasciitis:
Most of us Stroller Warriors would love a massage after a long run; however, scheduling a massage during the week is sometimes impossible. Here are 3 at-home massage device suggestions to add to your holiday wish list:
Nighttime Running Gear:
Visibility while running and/or biking during non-daylight hours is imperative for safety. Add a NOX Gear vest to your holiday wish list for yourself, family members, and fury friends to stay bright, blinking, visible, and safe during non-daylight hours. Additionally, bike lights by ACTIV Life provide great visibility while biking!
Running Accessories and Attire:
The colder season months are here and it is important to dress for the weather — layers of clothing, stocking hat, gloves, running jacket, but what about bottoms? Enter BALEAF fleece lined leggings! These have become a favorite of many Stroller Warriors members!
An extra measure of self-defense protection is imperative when running solo. A self-defense tool would be a great accessory to have when running solo, even if it offers even the slightest amount of added security.
Phone, keys, and ID are items that stroller runners would typically place at the bottom of the jogging stroller. How can runners stay hands-free when running stroller free? The Flipbelt is a brilliant running accessory—worn around the waste and plenty of storage for the aforementioned items.
Many runners love running or walking while listening to podcasts or a favorite album, but they still need to hear the noises from the surrounding environment. Both of the following options provide your favorite tunes and podcasts without completely blocking outside sounds.
Sunscreen is important to apply before heading out for a run — for both runners and kids! This sunblock is easy to apply— just spray and swipe!
What would you add to the list? Please share! Cheers to running over the holidays and striding into the New Year!
Disclaimer: Stroller Warriors® does not endorse any of the above products. These are the personal views of Stroller Warriors members.