Stroller Warriors® Camp Pendleton is a free running club for military spouses and active duty members of all abilities. On any given Tuesday, Friday, or weekend you can probably spot a pack of dedicated stroller warriors covering miles on and around Camp Pendleton. What you won’t be able to see at a quick glance is the level of camaraderie and support the club has built.
Stephanie Geraghty founded the first chapter of Stroller Warriors in Camp Lejeune in 2010. The organization has grown to 15 chapters at military installations worldwide, including Camp Pendleton. Stroller Warriors Camp Pendleton launched in 2012. Since then the chapter has grown to close to 700 members. The key to that growth: support and service. Stroller warrior Melanie Cain says, “The support, friendship, and enthusiasm this club has truly makes you believe you can challenge your limits, and makes me strive to be the best version of myself I can be.”
With Stroller Warriors Camp Pendleton, members not only challenge themselves athletically, they also find strength and value supporting their fellow stroller warriors and serving their community. Through deployments, field exercises, and PCS moves, military spouses do not often have a say in the “where’s” and the “when’s” in this lifestyle. Stroller Warriors gives spouses an opportunity to be a part of a team, be proactive in reaching their personal running goals, and make a positive impact on their fellow military spouses and greater community. In my personal experience, when a deployment is especially difficult, the chance to help motivate someone else, or contribute to a worthy cause has had an empowering effect that helps me deal with the challenges of separation.
Since 2012 Stroller Warriors Camp Pendleton has participated in a household goods drive for Hurricane Sandy victims on Staten Island, raising an additional $1,000 for the Marine Corps League Detachment on Staten Island. Camp Pendleton stroller warriors have participated in toy drives for displaced children in our local community and our fellow military families through Operation Help a Hero. Through two food drives for Family Assistance Ministries, stroller warriors have donated almost 500 pounds of food and personal hygiene items. In June 2013 Stroller Warriors traversed a 31.5 mile relay from inland Oceanside through Camp Pendleton to raise awareness for suicide prevention for our service members and over $3,800 for Active Heroes. In addition, since 2012 Camp Pendleton stroller warriors have raced in dozens of events making charitable contributions to many causes.
Our current effort is most dear to our heart. This past November one of our own stroller warriors faced the unthinkable when she lost her husband in a range explosion aboard Camp Pendleton. Since November, stroller warriors around the world, as well as our families, friends, and supporters, have rallied around our teammate to help provide some relief on the dark road ahead. Through our donation page, we have raised over $3,300 for this brave warrior. We are still shy of our goal, with the deadline on February 7th. Please click if you can help us achieve our goal.
As a running club open to all military families, we do not demand a standard and are truly comprised of runners of all ability and experience levels from novice to ultra-marathoner. Despite what the club name implies, strollers and children are not required to join. Our runs are followed by core work and playtime for our children. Our latest round of Couch to 5K, a program that assists members new to running or returning from injury or hiatus increase their fitness from walking to running 3.1 miles, launches February 4th. Stroller warrior Dao Hawkins says the, “Couch to 5K program has played a big role of bringing more women out to run with us. It has helped many find the courage to step outside of their comfort zone.”
As a runner, especially in sunny southern California, you can head out of your house and get your miles in. As a Stroller Warrior, you get your miles in as a part of a positive, supportive team of fellow military spouses and active duty members who understand the ups and downs of military life. As a stroller warrior you have an opportunity to make a positive impact on a fellow spouse and make a difference in your community. Stroller warrior Victoria Lazzaro shares, “They [Stroller Warriors] cheered me on from my first 5K to my first marathon. I never thought in a million years I would run a marathon!! Anything is possible when you have a supportive team behind you. Stroller Warriors has changed me for the better. It’s helped me become supportive and encouraging to everyone around me.”