Ten years ago, Libby Scanlan had a friend drop out of training for a half marathon. She asked her mom, Diane Huggins, to train with her. This last-minute circumstance kickstarted their running partnership.
The two used to run around the neighborhood together when Libby was in middle school, but had never done any substantial distance before then. Now, the mother-daughter duo—Diane in her 60s and Libby in her 40s—has made running a priority. “It makes it very special,” Diane said. “I don’t know that I ever would’ve started running if it hadn’t have been for Libby to talk me into it. That sort of started me off. I just kept it up because I don’t want to quit. If I can do it, I’m going to do it.”
Finishing that first half marathon was a special moment for the two of them, Libby said. “It was definitely special—empowering—to do something that up to that point, you didn’t know you could do.”
Now, one of their favorite races to participate in each year is the Firecracker 5K/10K, hosted by the Maryland Farms YMCA. Last year, the family had three generations of women running, including Libby’s 9-year-old daughter, Amelia. Diane keeps all of their bibs for proof—she’s run the Firecracker seven times. “It’s a great way to start the 4th of July,” Diane said. “We usually go out and have breakfast afterwards and start the celebrations. It just makes for a fun start to a great day.”
Even though it’s a hot race—as all three attested—it’s a family tradition. “They make it a festive atmosphere,” Libby said. “It’s kind of fun to be with the community on that day.” Diane used to run the Firecracker with her former coworkers, so the race also evokes a sense of togetherness. “I love being motivated by other people,” she said. She looks forward to reconnecting with old friends at the race.
What Diane isn’t quick to share is that she usually places first in her age group, which she's done the last three years in a row. “Until I turned 60, I really couldn’t place,” Diane said. “But then, fewer people run after they turn 60, so sometimes I’m the winner and the loser all at the same time,” she laughed. “But it still feels good.”
Diane and Libby have even trained around the Maryland Farms YMCA—running the 6-mile loop that circles down Granny White Pike and back up U.S. Highway 31. And, they’ve done it twice, consecutively. “We used to always train right here,” Libby said.
The mother-daughter running tradition may continue with the next generation for this family. “This past year at the Firecracker, I remember seeing Amelia running and thinking that someday she could be my little running buddy,” Libby said. “When I do long runs, she rides her bike beside me.”
“The difference is, you’ve been training for this,” Amelia joked. “I just go out there.”
The 20th Annual Andrews Cadillac Firecracker 5K/10K and Luken Kids Fun Run 1K hosted by the Maryland Farms YMCA will be held on July 4, 2019. The race, taking runners on a spirited loop around Brentwood, kicks off our YMCA Race Series with a bang. Sign up to join the fun at ymcamidtn.org/race-series.