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Mother-Daughter Duos Running For Each Other


Mothers and daughters often share a special bond that allows them to connect like no other. Sometimes it’s a day of shopping, sharing an afternoon coffee, or evening chat sessions where 5 minutes turns onto an hour before you know it. In this case we witnessed two sets of mother-daughter duos who were connecting through running. It didn’t necessarily start out as a love for the sport, but rather the idea of not letting the other one down, keeping each other accountable, and sharing a common fitness goal.

Let’s run!
Lisa Otterbein-Bolek hung up her running shoes after giving birth to her daughter in the summer of 2013. Having previously ran a half marathon and several 5 and 10k races, she knew she had it in her but with a toddler at home it was easy to let life get in the way. While talking with her mom Cindy, Lisa expressed her desire to get back into the running game and brought up the idea of our RunFit 5k training program. Lisa has been a long-time physical therapist with Northern so she was very familiar with our program but it wasn’t something she had ever participated in. To her surprise Cindy offered to sign up for RunFit too, “I’ll do it if you do it!” she exclaimed, even though she had never run a 5k in her life. The ladies made a commitment to each other and knew if they they did this together they would keep each other accountable.

“It was fun to see my mom push herself and work toward a goal that she had never accomplished in her life.” Lisa Otterbein-Bolek said of her mother, Cindy Otterbein.

“What did we get ourselves in to?”
In the very same RunFit group we welcomed a second mother-daughter duo in Robin Fynewever and Katelyn Greiner. Katelyn had been quite the runner in high school, but just like Lisa, children and life took over and running got the back seat. After the duo participated in a Mackinaw Island run with finish times not as fast as they had hoped for, they decided something needed to give. Katelyn admits that after the first RunFit session she and Robin looked at each other and asked, “What have we gotten ourselves in to?” 
Mother-Daughter Duos Running For Each Other

Katelyn Greiner and her mom, Robin Fynewever, getting ready for the big race.

But, the women carried on because they had made a commitment to each and neither was willing to let the other one down. They even began running together a few times per week, outside of RunFit, which meant enduring early morning runs, hot evening runs, and sore muscles. But they always came through because they made a promise to each other. 

“We Enjoy Running”
While each of the women faced challenges throughout the program, all four could see the progress they were making each week and after a few sessions the finish line didn’t seem so far away. More important than the fitness goals they were achieving, Lisa and Katelyn both really enjoyed the time they spent with their mothers. 

“My mom has always been a huge motivator for me,” explains Katelyn. “Whether cheering me on during track meets or cross country races in high school, she always took an interest in what I was doing and pushed me to reach my goals. Run Fit was a way for us to set a goal, and achieve that goal… together. I’m so proud of our accomplishment! Having my two little girls see my mom and I run a few times a week gives me hope that I will instill that same motivation in them.”
Mother-Daughter Duos Running For Each Other

“Hills and speed work… BRING IT ON!” Katelyn Greiner


So What’s Next?
All four women successfully completed the 5k at the end of our 8 week program. Held at Robinette’s in Grand Rapids, the trail race brought on 80+ degree temps, high humidity levels, and a lot of hills and uneven terrain. Because of progress they were making and the bond they were sharing, each has committed to continue running together, for themselves, and for their families. They’ve even decided to kick things up a notch by joining our RunFit 2 program which is designed to help increase speed, add to overall distance, and become more proficient with hill running. Our goal is to help you take that next step towards possibly training for a 10k or just increasing your 5k speed, all while staying injury free.
Mother-Daughter Duos Running For Each Other

“Onward and upward to Run fit 2 and maybe a 10K sometime soon!” Lisa Otterbein-Bolek is pictured with one of our RunFit instructors, Alex Hoffman

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