MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
They run miles weekly while pushing their children in strollers, but they are not your average military spouses and moms - they are the Stroller Warriors of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
When Stephanie Geraghty and her family moved from Quantico, Va., to the Camp Lejeune area last October, she wanted to find some friends and a running partner. She said she had always dreamed of starting a running club for moms, so that is what she did. She posted the club online and then waited for responses.
Kim Swaim was the first member to join the running club, so Geraghty and Swaim teamed up to spread the word about the Stroller Warriors. In January 2010, the club officially kicked off their weekly meetings every Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. Since January, the club has grown from three members to 128 members in the Jacksonville, N.C., area.
When the group meets, they usually start out with a five-minute warm-up, then do a 40-minute running workout and finally finish with some core and abs exercises.
“Our group centers around supporting each other as military wives, moms and runners, and also our children and spouses,” said Geraghty. “In turn, we also strive to support our surrounding community. We compete in the (Marine Corps Community Services) Grand Prix race series and other local charitable races. We usually try to pick one race every two months to compete in.”
So far, the group has participated in the Marine Corps Special Forces Operations Command Mud Run, Run for the Warriors and the Onslow Beach 8K race. Currently, there are four members training for the Marine Corps Marathon in October and three members training for the Battleship North Carolina Half Marathon.
“A friend recruited me into the group,” said Kathryn Marcantel, a military spouse and Stroller Warrior member. “It’s an awesome way to meet moms, and it’s a great social environment. It’s also a good way to get back into running.”
Jennifer McDougall, a military spouse and another member of the group, said she heard about Stroller Warriors through LejeuneYardSales.com and has gone running with them twice.
“I was worried at first that I wouldn’t be able to keep up, but the women motivate you to keep going,” said McDougall. “I love it. It gives me a chance to get out, socialize, and my daughters get out and make friends, too.”
Maddy Buckminster, a former active-duty Marine and Stroller Warrior member, said the group of women isn’t made up of average spouses.
“This isn’t just a running group, although it will kick your butt - it’s a group of friends,”
said Buckminster. “Everyone comes together and supports each other; and the relationships extend outside of the group. It doesn’t matter what your rank is - officer or enlisted - rank does not matter. Everyone motivates each other.”
Jenna Love, another military spouse, has been a member for five months and said it was a great way to help lose the baby weight after having a child.
“The women are all very motivating and encouraging,” said Love. “The group is well-organized and structured.”
All military moms, spouses and runners are welcome to join the free group. Members request to join through the Facebook page, “Stroller Warriors.”
The next charity run on the Stroller Warriors’ list is the 2nd Annual Bubba’s Belly Run, Saturday, at 9 a.m. in Jacksonville.
Nicki Bunting, the 2010 Army Spouse of the Year, established Bubba’s Belly Run in memory of her husband, Army Capt. Brian “Bubba” Bunting, who was killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2009. The main race is held in Maryland, but the Stroller Warriors are hosting a similar run/walk in the Camp Lejeune area. All proceeds from Bubba’s Belly Run will go directly to support families of fallen service members.
For more information about the Stroller Warriors or Bubba’s Belly Run, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-947-2429.