Meet Elaine: a 29-year-old, part-time, self-proclaimed, one-of-a-kind “unicorn,” and full-time mom. She calls Fox Chase home, but as the founder of “Latinas in Motion”, she’s an all-around inspiration—as much for her contagious energy as her willingness to break stereotypes. But that didn’t happen overnight.
After Elaine had her first child, the 50 pounds of baby weight had her feeling less than awesome. She tried joining a gym, but just couldn’t stick to it. So she turned to running, because 1) she could create her own schedule, and 2) it’s free.
“It doesn’t have to be about money, especially when it comes to your health. You can work out and make healthy choices, all on a budget. It’s about a mindset.”
Though she never had what she thought was a runner’s body, Elaine was committed to finding her stride, so she kept at it, gaining confidence enough to sign up for the Broad Street Run. But once there, her sense of pride only went so far. At the race, she saw all kinds of runners. Except for other Latinas. If you know Elaine, however, you know she’s not the type to get easily or permanently discouraged.
“I saw an opportunity for my community to show up for this fitness movement, and for us to support one another in doing it together.”
That was the beginning of “Latinas in Motion”. A couple of phone calls and texts to friends, simply saying, ‘Hey, I’m running at this time/place, who’s down?” was enough (to Elaine’s surprise) to bring a handful women together at the rendezvous point on time. That handful has since grown to hundreds, belonging to different groups throughout the city. First time runners, marathoners, moms who come with their daughters, girlfriends excited to meet new like-minded, spirited women, all there supporting one another. From strangers to community to family.
“We are a group of women who really just inspire and encourage each other to be active. We meet up somewhere in the neighborhood, walk and run together, from two to five miles depending on who shows up.”
By baby number two, Elaine was already in the groove. “My teammates were able to see me through my pregnancy with my son. When I was seven months pregnant, I was still making good decisions to show everyone that it can be done. I’m this mobile mother, like I tell everyone, ‘I’m a unicorn. There are no stereotypes that can’t be broken. You can be a unicorn, too. We can do this!’”