Moms on the Run: Fitness, Friendship, & Fun in One

There’s a saying that “if you have a problem, give it to a mom”. Moms can do/fix/make anything. In 2008, when Moms on the Run CEO, Karissa Johnson, was struggling to find time to fit in fitness with three children under five – she “fixed it”, for herself and eventually for moms across the country by creating a running-based fitness program. Karissa grew up with a passion for running and received a B.S. degree in Kinesiology/Exercise Science from the University of Minnesota, along with certifications for personal training, group fitness, and nutrition. She had all the know-how needed to tackle her fitness dilemma – starting with offering a fitness class in a local park for moms and babies. When the women in the group expressed interest in training for their first 5k race, Moms on the Run was born.

Now, Moms on the Run is not just a fitness program, but a fitness franchise system offering a unique part-time business model with the mission of serving customers through a structured fitness program that meets the needs of women of all ages and fitness levels by helping them get in shape, make friends and have a blast. Their focus is on coached running for all levels – from beginner to marathoner – while offering a strong social community. “Our signature learn-to-run program provides our proprietary run/walk interval program designed to help even the most novice exerciser experience success in a 5k race,” explained Karissa. “Our intermediate and advanced training programs are designed by Olympian Carrie Tollefson and our seasonal variety in class formats, alongside our nutrition programs and lifestyle challenges, keep things fun and exciting throughout the year.”

Moms on the Run stepped into the Northland in the Spring of 2019. “We know so many women in the Duluth area need the social connection and fitness support that we offer, and look forward to getting the word out about this opportunity. We are looking for participants and coaches to expand our program here, as well as potential franchise owners for additional locations in Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin.” Karissa shared.

Social media and the ability of the Moms on the Run members, coaches, and franchise owners to share their inspiring stores have quickly fueled the company’s growth. The part-time business model is attractive to their core audience of women and moms and is unique in the fitness space. Moms on the Run is a nationally franchised company with 50 U.S. locations in nine states. “Franchising is an amazing opportunity because you’re in business for yourself, but not by yourself!” said Karissa. As a Moms on the Run Franchisee, you receive a whole level of structure and systems ready-to-go. The company was named to the past year’s Entrepreneur’s List of Top 100 Franchises under $50K and is also rated high by Franchise Grade for their low-risk investment and the opportunity to build a part-time business while impacting the lives of others.

The key to their corporate and franchise success is their program. “Busy women really appreciate that our comprehensive fitness classes help them get their strength, cardio, and flexibility training all in one hour,” explained Karissa. “But, even greater is the new sense of team they find. Moms on the Run groups are truly a family. We hear over and over again that people join Moms on the Run to get fit, and they stay because they are achieving their fitness goals and develop a strong camaraderie with their teammates.”

Moms on the Run is a great option for “fitting it all in” in a busy week: your workout, a break from the kids, stress relief, and social time with girlfriends. “I could never even estimate the high number of lifelong friendships that have been made through Moms on the Run,” shared Karissa. “I love the story of the women in our very first class that soon after introduced their families to each other, and then years later still spend holidays together! It’s not easy to make friends as an adult. I’m proud to say so many women have met their best friend in this program.”

And their participants agree: Cathy, a 59-year-old member from White Bear Lake says she will run the rest of her life, thanks to the program, “Moms on the Run made me a runner, an activity that will continue the rest of my life. I became a member of a group of loving and supportive women, who have all become a huge part of my life. I am forever grateful that I took this huge step into the unknown!”

JaKasta, a mom from Eau Claire, Wisconsin shares, “I joined as a way to get out of the house and lose some baby weight after having four kids in five years. Wow, did I get so much more! Friendship, joy, laughter, strength, and confidence! I’ve found a passion I never dreamed of having. Moms on the Run has changed my life and I cannot describe how thankful I am! Our head coaches are amazing and we are truly blessed by them!”

And Melissa from Cottage Grove found the support she needed to improve her health in a big way, “Moms on the Run has changed my entire way of thinking. I am now accountable for my health. I make sure I take time out of my day to work out, even if it’s 30 minutes, and I’ve found awesome support from the wonderful friends I’ve made. I cannot thank Moms on the Run enough for the friendships and new routine it’s helped me establish. I am now 65 pounds less! Yahoo!”

Moms on the Run is passionate about changing women’s lives in a way that leaves an impact on the world around them. They believe that healthy moms make healthy families. Women have begun a fitness routine for the first time, discovered a sport they enjoy, found new energy, conquered depression, gained strength, lost weight and have made lifelong friends while doing it. You can find more amazing individual experiences and transformation stories on their blog.

The Moms on the Run program is a great fit for women who desire outdoor fitness rather than a gym environment. The program is open to all ages and fitness levels, in fact, those that have never run before are their specialty. The program also appeals to women who are looking to fun their first 5K or to improve speed and endurance as a runner with their high level of coaching and support. In Duluth, they offer their signature learn-to-run 5K training program as well as their intermediate and advanced runner programs designed by Olympian Carrie Tollefson. Seasonally they will offer strength and cardio boot camps and will definitely offer winter running if there is interest.

Learn more about Mom on the Run in Duluth or other locations, visit MomsontheRun.com

Arrowhead Printing: They have an ink for that

When you think of Arrowhead Printing, you might think of the fast-turnaround time on your business cards, or the amazing layout for your company’s brochures, or perhaps the 10,000 piece direct mailer they did from start to doorstep for your charity’s fundraiser, and while Arrowhead Printing can accomplish all these projects without breaking a sweat – that is not all they do.

Arrowhead Printing is a small, local, woman-owned business that is well known in the business community for their quick and quality work, but they love working on projects for individuals as well.

Many custom projects that you might think you can only order online can actually be created right in your own neighborhood. “We can customize so many things,” explains Arrowhead Printing expert, Lisa Lurye. “We can print custom coasters for your home bar, designs on doors, mirrors, or most anything flat to customize your home or office. We can print stickers or buttons, or custom calendars that highlight your family’s favorite days.”

Arrowhead Printing can even help you design and print custom wrapping paper for birthdays or holidays. Who needs gift tags when you can print paper with the recipient’s face on it! Imagine how fun those presents will look under the tree.

When it comes to gifts, Arrowhead can create one-of-a-kind items that make perfect presents for your loved ones. “Most grandmas would love a calendar with all the family birthdays, anniversaries, and celebrations highlighted with photos and notations on the special days. A custom sign with matching coasters for Dad’s home bar would make a perfect Father’s Day present. We can also print on pizza and cutting boards to use as décor,” shared Lisa.


You can also turn to Arrowhead for custom designed invitations for birthdays and anniversaries or birth and graduation announcements. They can also turn a favorite photo into a canvas you can hang on the wall or print copies of grandma’s cookbook for the whole family.

Working with a local printer gives you the opportunity to see and feel the products before printing them, as well as the option to customize the look and design until it’s exactly what you want. Arrowhead Printing’s professional staff can walk you through any project big or small.

Find them at arrowheadprinting.com
facebook.com/ArrowheadPrinting
email llurye@arrowheadprinting.com
or call them at 218-727-1513.

Safe Haven: Safety, Advocacy, Empowerment

Safe Haven Shelter and Resource Center in Duluth, Minnesota provides services to women, children, and all survivors whose lives have been affected by physical, emotional, sexual, and economic abuse. Their shelter and resource center provides a safe space for women and their children to heal and seek help through advocacy and empowerment. They shelter 500+ women and children and serve 1500+ in their resource center annually.

Safe Haven serves the seven-county area in Northern Minnesota, including St. Louis, Koochiching, Aitkin, Lake, Carlton, Itasca, and Cook counties. They seek to strike a balance between offering services to diverse victims while working toward the erosion of the cultural facilitator that breeds domestic violence. Their services are provided through two locations, their shelter offers temporary refuge to anyone experiencing domestic violence who identifies as a woman or nonbinary person, as well as the survivor’s children and pets. Staff assists those being sheltered in obtaining counseling and protection, as well as other services. Their second location is their Resource Center where they provide a variety of services to domestic violence victims and survivors, for example, legal advocacy, assistance with housing, education, and childcare, safety planning, and emergency phones, opportunities to meet with police, attorneys, therapists, healthcare providers, etc, support groups, youth support, and a drop-in center with a kitchen, shower, lounge, and internet access.

The Resource Center is for all survivors, even those that don’t use the shelter. “The Resource Center offers so many comprehensive services ranging from legal advocacy to youth programs to our amazing drop-in center that allows individuals to have a homey environment they feel safe in,” explains Jaci Christiansen, Community Engagement Coordinator at Safe Haven. “We really want to make sure that we are supporting a survivor as they move from fear to freedom. Our advocates are incredibly in tune with all the different resources within our community to make sure the clients we work with have community support as they transition to not needing our services anymore.”

Safe Haven staff acknowledge that access to appropriate mental health support in our region is always difficult. “Many of the individuals we work with have experienced complex forms of trauma and once they find themselves on that path to freedom, working through that trauma is important but not always possible if they don’t have access to a mental health provider.”

The Safe Haven Shelter is almost always at or over capacity. Half of the women who are homeless in Minnesota are homeless because of domestic violence. Their shelter has 39 beds, but they are often “over-full”. “Whenever we’re able, we allow for families (moms with children, especially teenage boys) to have their own, private spaces in an otherwise communal living environment. We are also a unique shelter because we do accept pets of all shapes, sizes, and species because pets are family too. We want to remove any boundaries that may be preventing someone to seek out safety in the shelter.” said Jaci.

The high utilization of services means the shelter can always use a hand. This year at the Duluth Women’s Expo donations were collected for the shelter and resource center – specifically personal hygiene products like shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, and socks and underwear. “We do our best to make sure that someone’s basic needs are met the entire time they are in the shelter. The hygiene products are some of the first things that we give someone when they arrive in the shelter to start that promise that we will take care of them while they are staying with us. Many of those who come into shelter may arrive with just the clothing on their backs. Having socks, underwear and pajamas provide the basic comfort items that someone needs to feel safe and comfortable as they settle into shelter life.” The shelter is also in great need of unrestricted donations that allow them to be nimble and adaptive as needs arise – including new support programs and creative opportunities to meet the needs of the survivors they serve.

Domestic violence is still a very real problem today. Jaci explains, “A lot of folks think of domestic violence as being a part of our cultural history, but it’s still prevalent in our community today at an alarming rate. Physical violence is happening, and so is emotional abuse. Bruises aren’t the only indicator of a violent relationship, so we encourage everyone to look out for one another and be brave enough to check on your friends and loved ones if you’re concerned. We can always help you find the right words- call us any time.”

Learn more about donating, volunteering, getting involved, etc., they can contact us at: outreach@safehavenshelter.org.

Bluebird Foundation: Nearly $50K to Support Area Students

In 2014 The Bluebird Foundation was founded to help area students pursue their dreams in the performing arts with grants and scholarships. The bluebird has long been a cultural symbol of happiness and the Bluebird Foundation has, as an organization, brought happiness and financial support to many area 9-12 grade students involved in music, dance, and theater.

The Bluebird Foundation was the brainchild of Tracy Lundeen. He credits his late mother, Audrey Lundeen, for giving him the gift of music and the arts. “Giving kids the gift of the arts is truly a gift that will last a lifetime, a gift of calm during storms and peace during times of troubles. The arts are truly a gift that will always keep on giving,” says Lundeen.

The Bluebird Foundation has many short and long-term goals in its arts advocacy. Scholarships began being awarded in May of 2014 and to date, nearly $50,000 has been awarded. The Bluebird Foundation’s spring grant application is available right now on their website,
bluebirdfoundation.org

Donations, grants, and other fundraising have helped to raise the monies needed to get the Foundation up and running. The proceeds from the annual Christmas by the Lake- CDs initially helped fund the foundation and now a number of donations and fundraising events continue to support the organization throughout the year.

For more information on the Bluebird Foundation, how to get involved, or how to donate, find them on
Facebook at www.facebook.com/bluebirdfoundation or visit bluebirdfoundation.org.