ST. PETERSBURG — Even though he’s grown and now has children of his own, Chris Corbo will never be too old to heed motherly advice.
Be nice to others; always work hard; don’t waste your life as a “couch potato” in front of the “boob tube;” get outside, stay active and enjoy the beauty of nature. His mother Roz Corbo’s often repeated advice for good living shaped his business, American Running Company in Clearwater, and birthed the I Love Mother’s Day 5K with Premier Racing Institute, which celebrated its 10th year Sunday morning at John Chesnut Sr. Park in East Lake.
About 1,200, 10 percent of which were children, stormed the trail in pink and white “Supermom” shirts for a laid-back, family-focused race, said American Running Company assistant manager Christina Gorgeades.
Sunday’s crowd was the biggest the event has seen, drawn in part by the affordable $20 entrance fee for the chip-timed race, and in part by the allure of free family photo booths, giveaways and breakfast buffets. In it’s first year, the race only attracted about 150 participants and the breakfast was cooked by the Corbo family themselves.
“This really was the perfect fun activity for Mother’s Day that my boys would enjoy,” said Katy Cunningham of Palm Harbor, who ran for the first time with her husband Gene, daughter Noelle, 5, sons Kyle, 13, Sean, 12, Ryan, 10 and her own mother Madeline. “My mother taught me how to be patient and loving, and she taught me to let my kids be themselves, even if we have different opinions. It’s helped us become so close and have so much fun together.”
Cunningham is passing those lessons along.
“I love my mom, she does the laundry really well, she’s always smiling and she teaches us to treat others well and be kind,” Kyle said.
“And I love her kisses,” Noelle chimed in.
All awards for the race were mom-centric, from mother-daughter and mother-son teams to triple-generation awards honoring grandmothers as old as 79.
Avid runners Colleen McLaughlin, 39, and her daughter Chloe Miner, 13, of Oldsmar, came in first place for mother-daughter teams under 54 in their first run together as a team.
“I liked having my mom out there with me because she kept me motviated to keep going when it got tough and we got through it as a team,” said Miner, who’s on the track team at Carwise Middle School. “My mom is very athletic and a big encouragement.”
Encouragement is what good parenting is all about, said Roz Corbo, who volunteers at the race each year with her husband, her mother-in-law and her daughter to truly making the race a “family affair.”
Roz and her husband moved the family to Florida from Chicago after falling in love with the area. Enjoying the natural beauty of the beaches, and parks around Clearwater became the premier way to bond as a family. When Chris Corbo started American Running Company 10 years ago, Roz Corbo decided the “only way I’d ever see him again was to get with the program. Little did I know what the program meant,” she said. Now, 71, she is an active marathon and triathlon competitor.
“Being a mom eliminates selfishness because there’s a lot more people to think about other than yourself. It’s all about your kids needs, but as they grow and you try to help them along, you find that you really grow with them,” Roz Corbo said. “You never stop being a mom. The ink is never dry.”