By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterOctober 14, 2016
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Sharing a hobby is a great way for people to create a bond, and a Fort Rucker mother-daughter team is doing just that as they tackle the streets in their running shoes.
Shelley Westmoreland, military spouse, took her love of running and introduced it to her daughter, Hannah, and now they're an inseparable running duo.
Most recently, the pair took on the Divas Half Marathon and 5K run in Peachtree City, Georgia, where Shelley placed 2nd overall female with a time of 1:45:41 out of 789 runners in the half marathon, and Hannah, who is 10 years old, placed 3rd overall with a time of 26:10 out of 1,204 runners in the 5k.
"We've been doing the family runs since she was old enough to run -- literally since she was about 2 years old," said Shelley. "It's amazing to be able to share this with my daughter and see this interest in her."
"I like to run with my mom a lot because she can help me," said Hannah. "She gives me tips on how to run better, and even though she's faster than me, she'll run at a pace that's good for me. It's still fast, but it's not too, too fast."
Shelley, who's been running for about 26 years, said her love of running stems not only from the fitness side of it, but also how it makes her feel mentally.
"I started running when I was a kid and it's always been fun," she said. "As I progressed through running and through life, for me it became something that gets you out and gets you active. You get to socialize with people at the races and that's just really awesome to be able to have that connection with people."
That connection is something she said she's more than happy to be able to share with her daughter, and to be able to see the same love and passion for the sport brings her joy.
"I'm so proud of her and so excited to be able to share this with her," said Shelley. "She loves running just as much as me, and maybe even more, and it's a really great bonding experience to be able to look at your kid and be able to share a hobby like that."
Hannah has already participated in multiple 5K runs, with her best time coming in at 24:06, and Shelley believes that one day soon, her daughter will be able to outrun her, but she won't make it easy on her.
"She's going to have to catch me," she said laughingly. "I won't let up. She's definitely working on it, though."
For Hannah, catching up to her mother is the ultimate goal, but for now, she's happy just to be able to run with her.
"I would like to still run with my mom and be able to catch up with her," she said. "Sometimes when we're racing, I like to go fast. I just think running is super cool."
Shelley hopes that through their experiences running together that Hannah is able to hold on to her love for the sport, just like she has throughout the years.
"I just hope to instill a lifelong love of running with my kids because it's such a gift and such a great hobby," she said. "It just really gives them an outlet for energy that is just so positive, and I hope to keep them in it just to give them the opportunities that I've had with running."
In addition to sharing her love for the sport with her children and family, she's also taken to sharing it with others on post.
Shelley teaches a family fitness event behind the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Center where she's able to share her love for running and fitness with other families and their children.
"It's just a lot of fun and it's just about getting everybody out and moving, and getting people to love running," she said. "It's a very healthy lifestyle choice that people can make. It's more than just exercise. It gets you out and socializing, and it's something anybody can do. All you need is a pair of running shoes and a sidewalk."