Each week we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work — both with Charity Miles and without. This week we’re featuring Erin Thornton, marathoner, mother of two, and executive director at Every Mother Counts. Here’s what she had to say:

What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?
It sounds trite, but honestly raising a family is my greatest accomplishment. (Though to say it’s “accomplished” is silly.) It’s a day-to-day thing, but every day that I feel like my family is happy and loved (and watching them grow) makes for a pretty good day.

How did you achieve it?
I think the most important thing to being successful in anything you do is just being fully and completely present when you’re doing it. So when I’m with my kids, I’m with my kids. When I’m working, I’m working. I’m learning that administrative things and phone calls can wait and sometimes it’s just more important to sit on the floor and play princess. That’s an hourly struggle, of course. I’m extremely committed to my work. It’s so much a part of who I am as a person that I couldn’t possibly think abut giving it up so I practice it both ways. It’s not perfect, but it’s working for me for right now.

What motivates you to make the world a better place?
I’ve never really stopped to contemplate whether this is a choice — it just feels more like what we are all supposed to do. I’m very aware of how fortunate I am and that’s been underscored time and again through my travels. I guess I’m driven by the conviction that the inequities I see don’t have to be the way it is. I’ve just been lucky enough to find a way to blend that personal passion with my professional life. I realize that’s a huge blessing and not many people get to do so.

What do you do to stay healthy and fit?
I have always played sports and love it; I am hoping my kids pick up the same. Within the last few years, running has really become my go-to exercise, specifically since EMC started engaging in marathons. I remember Christy suggesting we run the NYC marathon and at the time, the most I could imagine running was four maybe, five miles. I thought it was a crazy idea, but as I started training I found myself addicted to the miles, the time to free my mind.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
This is a tough question. This may be cheesy, but I remember getting a puppy when I was around 22 and once I got him home just having this panic attack that I couldn’t actually be responsible for another living thing. What was I thinking? I called my parents and my dad just said, “It’s not complicated. Just love him. The rest will work itself out.” And so I did. Sometimes when I get overwhelmed with whether I’m being a good parent or not, I remember that one, simple line of advice, and remember all I really have to do is love my kids. (At least I’m hoping that’s all I really have to do…)

What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?
I love how easy it is and how it makes every workout about more than just me. And for EMC, I love that it offers us a similarly easy way for people to learn about maternal health and to get involved just be leveraging something they already love to do. I can’t tell you how many people’s eyes light up when I explain what Charity Miles is and how great it is to hear them say “Wow! Well I can do that!” Sometimes that easy first step is all it takes to hook someone on getting involved with philanthropy.

Who do you exercise for, and why?
Well on Charity Miles I exercise for EMC of course! I’m consistent on that. In terms of who I exercise for, it’s purely selfish. I exercise for me and it’s as much to have time just to let my mind clear as it is about the physical exercise. I don’t get that “me” time otherwise!

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