Approximately 750 people participated in Carlisle’s Downtown Mile on Thursday, but if you count everyone who was running for two, or three, the number is probably a bit higher.
While the annual mile race features a highly competitive set of front-runners, more and more participants seem to be choosing to run while pushing a stroller with at least one giggling child, which is not exactly conducive to faster times.
“When I run without them I can certainly run a better pace,” said Alician Iannuzzi, whose first actual race while pushing her two children, ages 3 years and 16 months, was Thursday.
But parents do it both because it’s fun for their kids, and because they’re used to it out of necessity.
“I started doing it just because I’m a stay-at-home mom and I can’t really leave them alone to go run,” Iannuzzi said.
“It’s the convenience, and she absolutely loves it,” said Megan Wardle, whose first race pushing her daughter was also this year’s Downtown Mile. “I tell her we’re going to go for a run and she goes right to the front door and gets in the stroller.”
Wardle and other parents said it’s a significant change from running by yourself, and take some getting used to. You can no longer use your arms for momentum while running, but have to keep them outstretched to keep the stroller in front of your legs.
“If you haven’t run in a long time, it feels like you’re carrying bricks,” said Natasha Yearsley, who was likely one of the most veteran stroller runners there — she’s pushed her children, now ages 4 and 2½, in more than 10 races, and works out three to four times per week while pushing them.
Other parents were just getting started. Amber Whitney was pushing her eight-week-old daughter for the first time, having come out to support her Crossfit team.
“Our whole family did the race for the first time this year,’ Whitney said. “We’ve found a lot of people we know.”
“I’ve always found that runners are really nice, really engaging and welcoming,” said Mallory Frank, who was pushing her three-and-half week old infant.
Some strollers are creating the next generation of runners, albeit slowly.
Patrick Andrews said his two-and-a-half year old daughter ran 20 or 30 yards before she got back in the stroller. Andrews said he’s been pushing her in many community races lately.
“In some ways it makes it easier,” Andrews said. “I was singing to her during the last Turkey Trot, out of breath, though.”
This was the eighth annual the Downtown Mile, with this year’s event including a post-race celebration featuring children’s games and activities as well as a beer garden for adults in the JFC Staffing parking lot at North Pitt and High Streets.
The best overall finish in Thursday’s race was by Isaac Kole, 20, who completed the mile in 4:21:07. The best finish among women was Maddie Kole, 21, at 5:25:46.
The race starts at High and Orange streets, and heads east almost to the Square. The run serves as a fundraiser for Carlisle’s Employment Skills Center, which provides community job training programs.
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