This story is part three of a ten-part series leading up to the 2019 Sioux Falls Skedaddle. For more information about the race and how to join us on April 28, visit the website here.
It’s easy to get lost in motherhood. It’s easy to disappear, knowing these years pass so quickly, and that soon your little ones will be grown and you’ll have time to be more again.
For DeAnn McClure, waiting wasn’t an option. She wanted her children to see her as more, always. To see her as a priority, and to one day know that they would have to make themselves a priority as well. Telling them would never be enough. She took the first steps toward setting the example before her children were taking steps at all.
“When my son child was born, it didn’t take long for me to realize I was feeling kind of lost. I wanted something that was for me, but when they’re that little, you don’t just leave them. I wanted to reclaim something. I just thought, ok well… there’s no gym, but there’s a road. I loaded him up into a stroller and just started.”
“It’s such a beautiful city. I love living here, and I will never get tired of running these roads!”
DeAnn started setting goals, small at first. Run a mile. Run it faster. Soon, she signed up for her first 5k.
“I included my children all along. They started looking forward to the races, to all of these strangers cheering for them. Even now, they still like racing. My daughter grew really passionate about it and ultimately went on to compete on her own. She started hearing from schools interested in having her run for them, and now she’s running for her college, just about half an hour away.”
“They’re grown now, and they’re all doing their own things, but those memories are so precious to me. Us racing together.”
Those memories of training, creating goals, and crossing finish lines together wouldn’t exist if DeAnn hadn’t made the decision to start when she did. When it wasn’t convenient, and when so many women face the challenge of balancing their own needs and identity with that of “mom”.
“Running taught me so much about myself, and about setting goals. It gives me confidence, seeing what I’m able to overcome and the distances I can cross, and that confidence crosses over into every other part of my life. If I can do this race, if I can do it faster this time, then what else can I do? And what can’t I do? And I see that in my kids, and I’m just so proud and thankful!”
DeAnn has crossed 40 half marathon finish lines, and this summer will finish her 7th full marathon.
“I still get nervous! I get anxiety about whether I’ll be able to meet the goal I’ve set for myself, but setting those goals every year keeps me really grounded and focused. And every finish line feels like the first. That exhilaration and excitement, and that sense of accomplishment.”
“I’m so excited that Pink Gorilla is doing the Skedaddle here. It’s such a beautiful place, and I’ve heard so many amazing things about Pink Gorilla Events. I started researching Nebraska and the race schedule to see what I can get to. I really want to do the Leprechaun Chase and the Good Life Halfsy, but the Skedaddle is going to be so much fun!”
There are countless studies discussing the effects of exercise on the human brain. The endorphins, the feel-good hormones released into your body and brain when you exert yourself… but DeAnn and the Pink Gorilla team know that there is even more to it. You’re doing more than putting positivity into your own body, you’re putting it out into the world.
“I think of all of the amazing people I’ve met that I never would have crossed paths with if it weren’t for running. These positive, inspiring people. Each one is out there empowering others. It’s really incredible!”
And while DeAnn has no shortage of reasons to run, she sometimes finds truly strong inspiration in the life and love she has created.
“Last year, my son was deployed. It’s hard being away from them, and I wanted to do something to just… put it out there that I was thinking of him during every race. To somehow send him something. So I ran in red, white, and blue as a way to kind of honor him.”
In the same way lighting a candle, saying a prayer, or sending a vibe can warm the world, DeAnn runs. She runs to make herself stronger, to make her children proud, and to chase the feeling of accomplishment that she has earned, every step of the way.