QUAL­ITY TIME

Grad­u­a­tion goal for teen, mom: 100 5Ks

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - Pam LeBlanc Fit City

A few months ago, Margo Ste­fka and her daugh­ter Sky­lar made a pact — one that spans four years and more than 300 miles.

If all goes ac­cord­ing to plan, the pair will cross the fin­ish line of 100 5K races by the time Sky­lar, a ninth-grader, grad­u­ates from Lago Vista High School in May 2021.

To meet that goal, they’ll have to pound out an av­er­age of two races a month. They have plenty to choose from in Cen­tral Texas, where run­ners can log a race al­most ev­ery week­end year-round.

The Ste­fkas have knocked out eight so far, start­ing with the Maudie’s Moon­light Mar­garita Run this sum­mer. That race raises money for the Trail Foun­da­tion, the non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion where Margo works as of­fice man­ager. Pro­ceeds are used to main­tain and im­prove the But­ler Hike and Bike Trail around Lady Bird Lake.

The two have also tack­led an ob­sta­cle race, a mud run, a bub­ble run and runs at fes­ti­vals in Shiner and Galve­ston. They’ve taken ad­van­tage of Groupon coupons to get re­duced en­try into some of the events and trav­eled out of town three week­ends in a row with the whole fam­ily to get to some of them.

“We wanted to do the Zom­bie Run, but we had too much packed in,” Margo says.

Next up? The Thun­derCloud Subs Turkey Trot on Thanks­giv­ing Day, where they’ll get a lit­tle ex­tra mileage on the 5-mile course. “It’s a good way to spend fam­ily time,” Margo says. “We laugh and have fun.”

Sky­lar, 14, says when she tells her friends what she and her mom are do­ing, they re­spond that it sounds like a lot of run­ning. “But all my friends think it’s cool, too,” she says. “My fa­ther just wants to know why we’re do­ing it. He’s more of a body­builder type.”

Margo, 35, came up with the idea af­ter think­ing about ac­tive, healthy ways to spend qual­ity time with the old­est of her three chil­dren be­fore Sky­lar en­ters col­lege. Also, Mar-

go’s fa­ther ran marathons and 10K races when he was younger, and when he quit do­ing them his mother made his race T-shirts into a quilt. Margo wants to do the same for Sky­lar, so she can take the quilt with her when she goes off to school.

“I want to pack a lot of ex­pe­ri­ences into the next four years,” Margo says. “I’m not a big run­ner, but I wanted to do some­thing mean­ing­ful with her, some­thing she liked to do. And it’s cool to carry on the tra­di­tion.”

Margo may not con­sider her­self a se­ri­ous run­ner, al­though she recorded a re­spectable 25 min­utes at one of the races, but Sky­lar def­i­nitely qual­i­fies as one. Sky­lar started run­ning track in mid­dle school, and now races as part of the cross-coun­try team at Lago Vista High, which re­cently placed first in re­gional com­pe­ti­tion and 10th at state.

“She slums it with me,” Margo says. “None of these are for time.”

Sky­lar trains with the cross-coun­try team for about an hour ev­ery day but is used to 2-mile races over grass and dirt in­stead of 5K over pave­ment.

Margo de­cided on 100 races af­ter crunch­ing a few num­bers. “I thought two a month was doable, with more in the sum­mer, and that 100 shirts would be enough to make a quilt,” Margo says.

That’s a lot of races to re­mem­ber, though, so Margo plans to keep a scrap­book, save bib num­bers and post pic­tures on In­sta­gram (han­dle @ste­fkarun­squad) to keep them all straight.

And yes, she’s “100 per­cent sure” they’ll grow tired of rac­ing be­fore they fin­ish all 100.

But that’s years away. We’ll keep you posted on their progress.

ERICH SCH­LEGEL FOR AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

Margo Ste­fka and her daugh­ter Sky­lar Ste­fka made a pact to run 100 5Ks by the time Sky­lar grad­u­ates from high school.

Sky­lar Ste­fka, here with her mom, Margo, runs cross coun­try at Lago Vista High School.

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