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Mother’s Day 5K draws 4,000 women

Updated: 2013-05-13T07:19:55Z

By DONALD BRADLEY

The Kansas City Star

Hold that Mother’s Day breakfast in bed.

A growing number of moms opted Sunday for a pair of running shoes and the Mother’s Day 5K at Corporate Woods.

The annual event began nine years ago with 640 runners. This year: 4,000 — the maximum allowed.

With Pink’s “Get the Party Started” kicking them off on a cool morning — 45 degrees at 8 a.m. race time — they ran, walked or pushed strollers or wheelchairs, leaving, in some way, the traditional breakfast tray behind.

But they still needed a bib.

“I haven’t lay in bed on Mother’s Day since I’ve been a mother,” said Anna Purcell of Olathe as she ran with her daughter. It was Emma’s first 5K. She’s 5.

First for Louise Periman of Leawood, too. She’s 91.

“I’m very excited,” Periman said, decked out in her wheelchair in a red sweater, black gloves and sunglasses.

She was getting pushed by her daughter, Verna Rowland. And it’s not like they were dissing the family on Mother’s Day. Check out their caps: “4 Gen,” as in four generations. Rowland’s two daughters also took part, and a granddaughter, Maggy, made the caps.

“She would be running, too, but she’s got soccer this morning,” Rowland said.

The plan was for her and her daughter Gail Rowland to push Periman. The other daughter, Pam Crawford, was actually running the race.

“But we’re all going to finish at the same time,” Verna Rowland said. “She (Periman) will get out of the wheelchair at the finish, and we will all cross together. Pam will just have to go into a holding pattern and wait for us.”

Guys, it’s a great event along the tree-lined streets through the scenic office park in Overland Park. Maybe you’d like to sign up next year.

Well, you can’t. Women only. Mothers, daughters and sisters.

But you can stand along the course and wave. Take pictures. Wait at the finish.

“This is about good health through fitness, and women are more likely to sign up without the intimidation of men,” said Janice Young-Miller, one of the organizers for the race sponsored by KC Express.

“Lots of these women never walked around the block, let alone run a 5K.”

She estimated about 70 percent of Sunday’s participants would be walking.

Not her. Young-Miller is a runner.

As is Angie Bland of Liberty. She ran with daughter Emma, 8, while her husband, Nick Bland, and son Tristan watched.

Nick Bland acknowledged the changing times.

“When I was kid we used to plant flowers on Mother’s Day,” he said. “Now moms get up and run a race. It’s like, ‘Happy Mother’s Day. Now go get your sweat on.’”

To reach Donald Bradley, call 816-234-4182 or send email to dbradley@kcstar.com.

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