This month we have a very special guest to highlight as our Runner of the Month. A mother, runner and friend to many shares her heart with the community in a really big way.
Anne Light, Founder of the Panther Running Club effortlessly makes a daily impact on so many young minds in our community today. She is a true gift to the community and we are ever so grateful to share her love and compassion. This runner truly is a“perfect fit” to showcase this holiday season, it was obvious for ITSF to showcase Anne’s story as December ROTM.
Grab your coffee, sit back and read Anne’s powerful yet simple message about life and running.
How long have you lived in Frederick?
I moved to Frederick with my family in 1990 when we built a house in Ijamsville. Since then I have lived in downtown Frederick and now in Clover Hill. Frederick is an awesome community!!
When and how did you start running?
My life has always been very active, softball, basketball, biking and the love of the outdoors. My running chapter began In 1992 when I started Marisa, my daughter, in a running program. I decided to pass the time running while she was running. Soon after I started running in races and loved it. By 1994 I was running with the FSRC, served on several committees and every board position but President. The club was a perfect fit for my new love of running.
I understand you are a big part of the Panther Running Club.
How did you get involved in the club?
The free after school program started with the Steeplechasers Market Street Mile and a 3 year sponsorship commitment from the Rotary Club of Carroll Creek. RCCC required in return for the 3 year sponsorship the
FSRC would assist in a start up running program for the children at Lincoln
Elementary for 3 years. Great idea and because I have coached youth and assisted with the high school cross country it would be a great partnership that I was excited to help launch. Greg ( my husband ) and I started the program with 4 children and 3 coaches. Currently the club includes 50 children and 10 dedicated coaches.
What have you learned from being a part of this organization and what message do you want to send to the community?
I have learned so much from these children. These children have many challenges in every day life and love the running club. When asked, they all have a different reason for continuing to join us twice a week to run. The amount of joy that comes when these small children tell you belonging to our Panther Team has helped them in academics, sports, health is a great feeling. When the parents/guardian comment how their children’s confidence has increased, it intensifies the connection all the coaches feel with these little runners. The smile when we arrive and the cheer when we finish is a wonderful reward. To teach running, respect and health to the children and they finally “get it” is amazing.
This running program would not be possible without the Market Street Mile, FSRC, Rotary Club of Carroll Creek, and If the Shoe Fits. It takes a village to make a difference in these young lives.
What motivates you to be fit and commit time to running?
I would have to say my mom. She was an AAU athlete in 3 sports, basketball, softball and running. She lost her fight with cancer at age 49 in 1971. Our families are precious and she is my reason I reflect on this during my runs. My biggest joy has been sharing running with my daughter for the past 22 years. We continue to run together at least once a year since she moved to Florida.
I am aware that you are a survivor...
Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about, treat each other with kindness and a smile.
Every runner has a story of motivation. On a personal level mine has a few challenges and setbacks which I view as my speed bumps in life. They may slow me down but they won’t stop me. With each new challenge is an added reason to never take any run for granted. Each person I run with, race I compete in, smile I share, is special.
Do you maintain any strict diet?
We each have some things in life we can’t control. I was a vegetarian for 7 years, and continue to eat a healthy diet of “good foods” but sometimes life will still throw a setback. I continue to make healthy choices but believe everything in moderation is key. I stay away from additives/preservatives as much as possible.
What has been your favorite race to run and why?
Each race is fun and different. I loved my experience in the 2001 Marine Corps Marathon after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Our military on the course were memorable. For our local runs - my favorite is the low key
Byron run with the challenging hills and beautiful scenery.
If you could wave a magic wand and wake up to a different world, how would it look? Would you change anything?
I love my world :-) and all the experiences/ chapters I have shared with so many people. My husband Greg, children and friends are my world. Change of the world? - It would be wonderful to live in a world of compassion and love for each person, child and animal.
What's your best piece of advice?
Life is precious, love each day, treat each other with respect, don’t hurry through life and don’t wait to do it tomorrow - Run and be happy :-)!