Running a company is hard work. Add marathon training and raising two kids and you’ve got a challenge. But this Sunday, Lifeway Foods CEO Julie Smolyansky will run the ING New York City Marathon (her first time racing on the streets of New York!) along with Christy Turlington Burns for Every Mother Counts, a nonprofit that aims to raise awareness for and improve maternal health worldwide.
We talked to her about marathon training and why maternal health is such an important issue.
How long have you been a runner?
I hated running until I moved to NYC for work for a month in April 2001. I had no time to do fitness classes at the gym, so I started running in Central Park. Then I started to love it. I ran my first marathon in October of that year.
How do you fit in marathon training and workouts on your busy schedule?
After having my two daughters, who are now ages 3 and 1, it was important for me to get back in shape. I felt like not working out was hurting my emotional health and physical health. Now I bring the kids in a jogging stroller. It’s fun for them and I get to be an advocate for their health.
At first it was hard to find time to work out. It’s usually the first thing that falls off because you think it’s not a necessity. Now I schedule it in my calendar. Just whenever there’s a break in my schedule—an hour to two hours a day, but even 30 minutes can mean a 3-mile run.
For more on Smolyansky, her work with Every Mother Counts and her goals for the marathon, Read more
The streets of New York City will become a runway for Christy Turlington Burns this Sunday, as she’s preparing to slip on her shoes (sneakers, not stilettos) to tackle a marathon. Turlington Burns and several of her friends and colleagues will be teaming up during the race to raise money to support Every Mother Counts, the group she founded to bring attention to maternal health-related causes. Between her training sessions, she found time to create a short film, Every Mother Counts: Obsetric Fistula, which she recently premiered, about a dangerous complication that can occur to moms after childbirth.
After her film debuted at LUNAFEST film festival, Turlington Burns filled us in about her race training, the cause that’s close to her heart and how we can help.
You’re running the ING New York City Marathon to support maternal health. How did you train for the event?
When the opportunity to run in the New York City Marathon came up, I was a three to five-mile jogger. I started increasing my mileage in early August and have done so steadily through my first 21 mile run a few weeks ago.
Do you have a goal in mind for the race?
To finish! Well, I fully expect to finish, but hope to feel good on the other side too. I am hoping to come in under 4:30. I feel strong and ready. What a perfect way to highlight one of the biggest barriers for women accessing health care in a timely manner, which is distance and the lack of transport when emergencies do arise.
What other fit activities do you enjoy?
I’ve been practicing yoga for more than 20 years and it remains my favorite “exercise” even through it is so much more. In recent years, I have tried a few other fitness trends such as Physique 57 and Tracy Anderson.
Turlington Burns recently premiered an important short film at LUNAFEST in New York City. Keep reading to learn more about it and why the topic is so important to her.