Inspiring Others? You Just Might be a Mentivator

Race Director Linda Maxwell explains the new grassroots focus of our mentorship program

The 100 or so women who attended our training kickoff in late June got a sometimes-humorous, often-touching glimpse of what it means to be a “mentivator.”

A combination of “mentor” and “motivator,” this mashup word encompasses what we know so many of you are doing — day in and day out — whether you realize it or not.

Have you invited someone to a training run? You might be a mentivator.

Have you used the hashtag #YouGoGirl? You might be a mentivator.

Have you used the phrase “I’ll see you for our 5 a.m. run,” and it was your idea? You might be a mentivator.

Have you discussed chafing in the elevator at work? You might be a mentivator.

Do your kids want to go for runs like mommy? You might be a mentivator.

And has a friend tearfully told you your encouragement has changed her life? You ARE a mentivator.

The thing is, women motivate and inspire each other in so many ways — sometimes without even realizing the impact their words and actions can have on a friend, family member, coworker or training partner. Witnessing this firsthand has led us to change the focus of our mentivator program to embrace and celebrate these important efforts.

Named for an incredible local mentivator, the Deb Ernst Memorial Mentorship Program we launched last year paired women in our community with running mentivators as they trained for our event. It was a great program, but we soon realized it failed to capture the less-formal mentivator relationships that were happening all around us, each and every day.

Enter mentivator 2.0. This year, we’ve gone grassroots to celebrate all the mentivators who are helping to inspire and motivate their fellow participants as they train for the 2017 Bellin Women’s Half Marathon. Deb, the founder of InCompetition Sports and a friend to so many in the running community, remains our program’s inspiration and namesake. And we think she’d love where we’re taking it.

Here’s how it works. At our June 26 training kickoff, we handed out nearly 75 mentivator training shirts in Deb’s favorite color, orange. Bearing the word "mentivator" on the front and the words "Ask me about D.E.B." (with the spelled-out acronym "Determination, Empowerment, Bravery") on the back, these shirts were given to anyone who either acts as a mentivator or planned to present the shirt to someone who does.

We want to see our community flooded with orange as these phenomenal women work together to train for our event, both honoring Deb and spreading the mentivator movement she inspired. We’re not talking anything fancy or formal — offering tips to a newbie, organizing a weekend run, encouraging a friend on social media and sharing running apparel tips are just a few examples of how mentivators work to inform and inspire one another in ways big and small.

Missed our kickoff but don’t want to miss out? You can still be a part of the movement. We’ll be giving away mentivator shirts at our first training runs at 6 a.m. Wednesday, July 12 (limited sizes only) and 6:30 a.m. Saturday, July 15 (full range of sizes) at Bellin Health Bellevue, 3263 Eaton Road. If you can’t make it either day, simply email with the subject line "Mentivator Program" and we’ll set you up with a shirt and offer some terrific ideas and tips on being a mentivator. You can also click here to access our Mentivator Toolkit, which will help you get started or up your mentivator game.

There’s so much to celebrate when we work to motivate and inspire one another. Here’s to the mentivators, and here’s to Deb. Happy running.



Category Tag(s): Running Training

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