HESPERIA • A brand-new group has hit the ground running — literally.
Alison Lopez of Hesperia recently started the High Desert chapter of Moms RUN This Town, a national running club started by moms, for moms, after she saw the need for a workout group that focused on all different fitness levels and lifestyles.
"I heard about MRTT from a Facebook group of runners, and I saw that they needed someone to represent our area," said Lopez, who seized the opportunity a little over a month ago and, quite accurately, ran with it. "We're here to promote it and encourage, support and motivate moms. I mean, I'm out here doing my workout today anyway. Now I just have friends to join me."
Despite her athletic and outgoing appearance, Lopez said she's quite shy. Still, the mother of three young children brings enthusiasm and support that other members said is tough to find.
"She's a great leader," said Dinorah VanWey, who has worked out with Lopez since she started MRTT. "She's a great motivator."
Van Wey, a personal friend of Lopez's, joined the group because of its unique dynamic, which encourages mothers of all types and ages, not only those with small children or those with impressive race records or defined fitness goals. Members can post their own workout times, dates and locations on the HD MRTT Facebook page, which encourages other members to meet up with them, allowing them to workout, socialize and support one another.
"We have members from all over the High Desert. If there are events set up at different locations it gives (members) more options," Lopez said. "It's very important to have everyone involved and it makes it more fun."
Community involvement was another reason Lopez had for starting the group. Having been a High Desert resident for almost 10 years, Lopez sees the value of groups like this and encourages members to sign up for local events, such as 5Ks and half-marathons. She believes that the best communities have residents who are involved in neighborhood activities.
"Nowadays, it's also a safety issue to go out on the street alone," Lopez said. "Exercise is so important and so much more fun and safe with others."
MRTT, which is free of charge, focuses on getting their chapter members involved by continuously offering incentives, giveaways and discounts. Because of Lopez's leadership, the group is able to enjoy the privileges and networking opportunities that a national organization can provide.
"We are here to motivate moms of every fitness level, whether they run, walk, jog, skip or cartwheel. Whatever they want, just get up and move," said Lopez, who took up running in 2006.
Although she's now a seasoned runner, Lopez admits to having her fair share of difficulties in the beginning.
"My very first half marathon was 2007 Spring Valley Lake (now Mojave Narrows), and I was so unprepared. I came in second to last and could not walk for two days," said Lopez, who just finished her sixteenth half marathon Sunday in San Diego.
"Come as you are," Lopez said. "Runner, walker or jogger, whatever, we are all striving for the same thing: Let's support each other."