For women in Cumberland, it's run early, feel better
CUMBERLAND — Why anyone would want to get out of bed early enough for a 5:30 a.m. running group?
Just ask one of the more than 40 women who are participating this summer in "Run and Done," which meets at the Greely High School parking lot every Tuesday morning.
The group's goals are to encourage its participants to be healthy, happy and strong, in an environment that is supportive and non-competitive, founder and coach Jen Rohde said last week.
The women can complete their workouts and put themselves first early in the day, which allows them to be the best the rest of the day, as they give of themselves to the people and activities in their lives, the Cumberland resident explained.
"After I had my kids, I had a lot of mom friends who were interested in ... finding time to get their exercise in, and putting themselves first in the busy life of being mom, wife, work, etc.," Rohde said, noting that those friends encouraged her to become a coach a few years ago.
Rohde said she was approached by John Rogers of Fleet Feet Maine Running to start an early morning all-women's running group through the Maine Running Company. After holding a winter/spring session earlier this year, Rohde then decided to try the current summer program on her own.
Rohde hadn't planned to hold a summer program, but was convinced by members who expressed a desire to keep the momentum going, and train for events like Beach to Beacon. Almost everyone from the original session is back for this one, she said.
"They had come so far, that I didn't feel like I could only do a one-time thing," she said. "It's incredible; I've been pleasantly surprised and overwhelmed by the response. ... I'm just so glad that summer has been a time when people can really carve out that time for themselves."
Women of all abilities, from walkers to marathoners, are welcome. Workouts range from 20 to 60 minutes, and include 5K and 10K workouts, but participants aren't obligated to stay for the whole session.
"I feel pretty passionately that exercise is just a vehicle for empowerment," Rohde said. "I hope that as ladies get stronger physically, that they get stronger emotionally, and can be an agent for change in their lives."
The program runs through Aug. 12, although there is no official practice the weeks of July 7 and 21. Participation in the official practices costs $32, while those who want to work out the two off-Tuesdays as well would pay $41, and be emailed a workout program by Rohde.
Participants must be at least 16 years old, with a consent waiver signed by a parent or adult guardian for minors.
"It's great to see ... all these women coming together first thing in the morning in our community, and supporting one another," Rohde said. "And these are people who are not morning people, who are coming because they know that if they're meeting a group, they need to show up, and then they're done. That's the beauty of Run and Done. Then you're done, and you can go on with your day."