Read the story I wrote about my mom, who runs marathons


For Mother’s Day, the Canadian running magazine “iRun” asked for stories from people whose mothers run. They said to keep it to 250 words. I started writing about all the amazing inspirational things that my mom does, and realized I’d written 3 pages. I cut it down as much as I could, but it still wasn’t short enough for them to print it in their paper version. Fortunately, in the magazine they said to check out the submission from Josh Rachlis on their website. And now I’m sharing it with the world. Because if anyone can make the world a better place, it’s my mom. Who, incidentally, ran the Mississauga Marathon for Mother’s Day. Her 20th marathon. The pics I’ve posted here are me cheering her on at a marathon in Toronto 5 years ago. My mom was running a marathon, and it was a struggle for me to get out of bed early enough to get to the race with my signs. I’m sure there’s a lesson in there somewhere. But anyway, here’s the link to the story I wrote:
And for those without the energy to click on a link, you especially need to read this, so here’s the story pasted in:

“My mom runs marathons”

Josh Rachlis, Toronto, ON

Whenever I feel there’s something I can’t do – which is often – I remind myself: “My mom runs marathons.”

Until 10 years ago, my mom, Louise Rachlis, had never really exercised. But when she turned 50, she felt depressed and decided to take action by learning to run. And now, my mom runs marathons.

A year ago, I realized I’d gotten overweight. I was tempted to think it would be too hard to get into shape. But instead I thought: “My mom runs marathons.” I hit the treadmill and have lost 40 pounds.

My mom has even written two books about running. Her book, 20 Steps to Keep You Going When You Think You Couldn’t Possibly- In Running and In Life, raised funds for the Ottawa Hospital. Recently my mom was in Paris for a marathon and was talking to a woman in the hotel lobby. Turns out my mom’s book had been this woman’s inspiration to start running at 50! Stories like this show me I can make a difference in the world.

Her other book, A Matter of Dreams: Excuse Busters tell all, profiles how top triathletes keep motivated and was a fund-raiser for the triathlete community. As she writes in the intro: “We all have many excuses for not achieving our goals. But… there is always someone for whom that is no excuse at all.” That’s the other lesson her running has taught me: I can do whatever I put my mind to, and can make the world better in the process. Because while pursuing running, she took up painting and donated the proceeds to charity. She founded the magazine, Challenge: Life with Cancer. She inspired the Ottawa Citizen (where she works) to start the National Capital Race Weekend series. Suffice to say, she won the 2005 CanWest Spirit Award for Ottawa in recognition of all the ways she contributes to the community.

On my recent birthday, I started thinking I was too old to exercise or to achieve my dreams. But by repeating “My mom runs marathons,” I’ve been able to not only keep up my exercise, but to amp up my creative pursuits – including submitting a pitch to CBC for a radio show about my mom’s running (which she doesn’t know I’ve done).

My mom has recently been asked to tell her stories at Running Room meetings. I hope iRun will also realize the value of her stories, so your readers can tell themselves: “Josh’s mom runs marathons.”


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