The mother-daughter duo of Marcia and Olivia Harlow will be one of several teams competing in this year’s Celebrating Women 5K race on Saturday, Aug. 12. Marcia, 49, and Olivia, 13, regularly run races together, including mini-marathons.
“Olivia has done other sports, but running is what she most likes to do,” said Marcia, who took up running after college. Although she insists she’s “just a mom who runs to keep the fat off,” Marcia completed the Chicago Marathon last October.
Melissa Harrell, another running mom, said she gets more nervous watching her 14-year-old daughter Caroline compete in races than she did when she (Melissa) ran cross-country and track events in high school.
“Caroline started running in fifth grade,” Melissa said. “I thought it was a good way for her to keep fit for other sports, but she liked cross-country running as a sport. She’s a really good runner.”
Melissa, who is 38, still runs three times a week, but no longer competes. When Caroline runs in this year’s Celebrating Women 5K, Melissa will be there as a volunteer, helping with registration or tearing off the runners’ numbers at the finish line and, of course, cheering for her daughter.
“It’s very exciting to see her compete,” Melissa said. “She runs year-round, and she wants to do it. She has quit all other sports to just run.”
In addition to enjoying the sport with their mothers, Caroline and Olivia are forming healthy lifestyle habits that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
“Exercise should be at the top of every woman’s to-do list every day,” said Theresa Byrd, R.N., clinical coordinator for Norton Women’s Heart Center at Norton Suburban Hospital. “Exercise improves overall health and heart health, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, makes you look better and feel better about yourself and helps with stress management. Exercise is essential to a heart-healthy lifestyle.”