We all run for different reasons— reasons that vary by day, year, and throughout the seasons of life. I’ve run because I had to— to pass the Army PFT; because I needed some me time— when my youngest was a baby I started a Couch to 5K plan; and for friendship— I love sharing miles with friends. Running with Stroller Warriors® Yuma taught me the last reason- friendship- is my favorite reason to run. There are no mile markers, no pace keepers, no timers or limits on the amount of fun found in miles with friends.
The last couple of years have been challenging times to run with friends due to restrictions, limited in-person events, cancelled meetups and races. I desperately miss running, training and racing with friends. These days, when I head out the door to run, I find that I’m missing my friends and I follow the footsteps on the paths that we shared together. It brings me such joy as I remember the miles and my friendships on these running routes.
I live close to the Mount Vernon Trail— a paved multi-use trail that runs nearly 18 miles from George Washington’s Mount Vernon to Washington, DC that parallels the nearby shoreline of the Potomac River. The Mount Vernon Trail has been a regular weekday and weekend long run route for Stroller Warriors Fort Belvoir. Additionally, the trail is a favorite running course for members of Stroller Warriors Quantico during marathon training season. I can hop on at any section of this route and “run with friends”. I can retrace my first marathon training season with my friend Robin and remember ALL THE MILES we ran together. The muggy mornings, the pleasant and not “too” sweltering summer runs and most of all, I vividly remember running my longest runs on this trail week after week. When I begin my runs at Gravelly Point, I immediately flash back to the morning that Sarah and Virginia ran the length of the GW Trail while training for Sarah’s first marathon. If I start at Dangerfield Island Marina, I remember sharing early morning marathon training routes with the Fort Belvoir crew. A 2018 favorite were marathon training miles from Jones Point Park to the GW trail and over the Woodrow Wilson bridge.
Even though my running miles are less than they’ve been in years past, I realize that I never run alone. I run with a happy heart because of all these miles shared with the best running friends ever! I love Stroller Warriors for all that it has brought into my life and I know there are a thousand of you out there who think exactly the same. Thank you to friends at SW Yuma, SW Jacksonville, SW Fort Belvoir, and SW Quantico for the memories, friendships and miles shared!
Heather is a proud mom of 3 and is now a retired Navy spouse. She belonged to SW Yuma and SW Fort Belvoir and is the founder of SW Jacksonville. She also served on our Global Page Team and Headquarters Team until her retirement in 2020.