Sense of community and fitness drives Stroller Warriors

Story and photos by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

Finding a place to blend in can be a difficult task when you are constantly moving from one base to another.

The endeavor can be even more daunting if you’re a mom with a newborn baby or even with one on the way.


The situation is no different at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, but Kate Laing is the chapter coordinator of a unique program that reaches out to moms and their youngsters to form an on-base community that will make them feel at home.

Stroller Warriors is a free club that puts kids on wheels with their moms providing the muscle in a multifaceted exercise program that gives support, camaraderie and a sense of community.

Founded in 2010 by military spouse Stephanie Geraghty, the program has grown to include 18 chapters around the world, with Hawaii, under the leadership of Laing, entering two years ago.

“I launched the club in 2013,” she said. “I was a member in Louisiana and when we got orders to permanent change of station here, I wanted to bring the club with me because I feel really passionate about it.”

Laing added that while exercise and wellness is a major theme in Stroller Warriors, the club goes far beyond a workout.

“It’s a community and I wanted to create a community where moms can get together with their kids,” Laing stated. “We run, which is what brings us together, but we’re a support network. It’s a way for spouses to be able to have a platform to build a community. The friendships that form out of this are long lasting.”

Toni McNulty, an Army spouse, was part of the original group that started off two years ago and is still going strong today.

From the very first meeting, she said that she was hooked by the workout and warm welcome she received from everyone there.

“At the time I had just moved to the islands and figured I had to do something because I had two boys (ages 1 and 4),” McNulty shared. “I just came to work out. I was really nervous, but it was really supportive.”

Laing said that on any given day, the workouts, which includes a 20-minute run and 15-minute strength training that focuses on your body’s core, welcomes anywhere from 30-40 runners.

Workouts are geared to everyone’s fitness level, so no one is pushed beyond their means.

“It’s encouraging at all levels,” said Megan Seeley, a Marine spouse. “The experienced ones encourage the beginners. We’ve all been there, so it takes encouragement.”

For those who want to be challenged, the club has several options, including the Couch to 5K (C25K), which progressively takes a newbie on a nine-week program with the goal of finishing a 5K (3.1 miles) run.

Allison Chance, a Navy spouse, arrived at JPBHH last year and joined Stroller Warriors while she was three months pregnant.

Although Chance admitted that she wasn’t a runner, she took the C25K challenge and completed the task while she was 26 weeks pregnant with her daughter Charlotte.

“This group just kind of motivates you,” Chance pointed out. “It’s been fun for me. My daughter was born in July and now she comes along with me.”

Besides spending time pounding the pavement together, Laing said that members bond through other ways, such as providing community outreach to several charities.

“We always give back,” she said. “We get so much as spouses. The military really provides well for us and so we reach out and do for others. We support (Tripler) Fisher House and held a 5K for breast cancer awareness.”

Like Laing, who is helping spread the word about Stroller Warriors, other members are also determined to take their new-found community everywhere they go.

“We are worldwide now,” McNulty said. “So wherever we move, we (Stroller Warriors) will be there.”

Stroller Warriors meets at JBPHH every Tuesday at 9 a.m. and at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on Thursday at the same time.

For more information, visit Stroller Warriors @ Pearl Harbor on Facebook or email Laing at strollerwarriorspearlharbor@gmail.com.

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Category: Sports