Minutes before 6:30 a.m. May 12, members of No Excuse Moms pulled into the parking lot of Harvest Baptist Church in Ellicott City. They hopped out of their cars, greeted each other and paused for a photo before taking off on a trail around Centennial Lake.
Some jogged, some walked, and some did a combination of both. It didn’t matter what they did, just that they got out there to do it.
The Howard County chapter of No Excuse Moms, a national nonprofit that supports women in prioritizing their health, was formed in 2015 and has 1,500 members, according to chapter leader Kathleen Walch.
“I wanted to find a group of moms I would be able to grow with and become friends with,” said, Walch, who has two young daughters and first learned about the group when she moved to Ellicott City from Baltimore City in 2016. “I loved it so much I stepped up to lead.”
The group focuses not just on fitness, Walch said, but on all aspects of health. It is open only to women.
“There are all different paces. Do what works for you,” Walch said. “No excuses. Buddy up and get out there.”
While the coronavirus pandemic halted all in-person activities of the group, it did not stop them from practicing fitness together.
“We chose to do online,” Walch said. “At home, there are a lot less barriers. No excuses.”
Walch, who has led the chapter since 2019, realizes that not everyone is a morning person, so she and other chapter leaders have been scheduling runs and walks at different times throughout the week. Virtual sessions also are scheduled at various times throughout the day, from early morning to late at night, to accommodate different schedules.
“We are very, very slowly bringing back in-person events,” Walch said.
Virtual sessions are like workout videos, said Kristi Towne, a No Excuse Moms leader.
“You do miss the participation,” Towne said. “When in person, we had people roll dice or pull a card to do that workout. They were more engaged with what we’re doing.”
Before COVID-19, outdoor workouts were planned near playgrounds or on tennis courts, which are fenced, so children could attend, Walch said.
“We show [the kids] health is important,” Towne said. “What drew me to [join] was that I would be able to bring my kids.”
The Howard County No Excuse Moms group is organizing a 5K fundraiser at 9 a.m. May 29 at Lake Kittamaqundi in Columbia. Registration is $10 and it is open to everyone, not just members. People choosing to do a virtual race have to complete it before June 1. To register, go to noexcusemom.com.
Five dollars of the registration fee goes to the No Excuse Moms nonprofit and the other $5 goes to the Howard County group to help with expenses such as raffle prizes, supplies and general expenses, Walch said.
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“We offer a variety of stuff,” Walch said. “It’s hard to workout on your own and be motivated. I like this.”