- Pam LeBlanc American-Statesman Staff
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, Margo’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.