By Ann Leach

Motherhood brings lots of changes, but Kristen Fenimore‘s commitment to maintaining a healthy lifestyle was too important to give up. Her solution? Take her daughter, Kaitlynn, with her on her runs. This started when Kaitlynn, now 10 years old, was a toddler.

“I’ve always had an active lifestyle but honestly had never run a 5K until I had Kaitlynn,” Fenimore said. “Our first one together was Joplin’s Ugly Sweater Run, and she was in the stroller. After that, we were hooked! We proceeded to enter the Run Like a Girl 5K, the Wizard Run, Donut Run, the annual Turkey Trots, and of course, the Ugly Sweater remains a tradition.”

The mother-daughter duo even flew to Jacksonville, Florida, to participate in the Spartan Run and the Spartan Kids event. “We have a lot of fun together,” Fenimore said, “And while we don’t run for record times, we definitely get the benefits of physical and mental health, as well as having some of the best times as mommy-daughter.”

Fenimore knew she wanted to instill healthy habits in her daughter at a young age. And she knew it would be a great bonding experience to do it together. “I’ve always encouraged her to participate in an activity and to find which ones she enjoys most,” she said. “Kaitlynn took dance lessons when she was a preschooler and also got into gymnastics. As she grew older, she wanted to go a different direction, so she now plays volleyball and basketball.”

Kaitlynn has embraced these habits and said she feels “tired, amazing and like I can do everything” once the races are done. Kaitlynn also enjoys participating in yoga, basketball and volleyball.

 Their training consists of Fenimore working out at the gym and Kaitlynn getting her workout during her other sports activities. Kaitlynn also suggests they “run down the street and up and down the hill every day.” Discipline is something they both strive for and will continue working on.

Mother and daughter decide which races to run based on which ones have the most fun theme. “One year, when Kaitlynn was 3, we did a donut run and she not only got a free ride in the jogging stroller, but we also scored a donut for each mile completed,” Fenimore said. “We don’t really aim for a certain number of races each year, but we always enjoy the Turkey Trot, the Ugly Sweater Run and the Wizard Run.” 

For 2024, Fenimore is considering a four-mile run, and Kaitlynn said, “I really want to do a lot next year.” 

“We definitely get the benefits of physical and mental health, as well as having some of the best times as mommy-daughter.” Kristen Fenimore

See more photos in the January 2024 print or digital editions