Kids will soon be singing those back-to-school blues. But with that, leaves many mothers with a little extra time on their hands, and the restlessness that goes along with it. With a mission to get moms moving, 99 Walks, a new members-only app created by the founders of Macaroni Kid, aims to fill the hole inevitably left behind when the first school bell rings.
Sag Harbor husband-and-wife duo Joyce Schulman and Eric Cohen created the group to offer monthly walking challenges. Schulman said she’s been working closely with fellow moms for over 20 years through Macaroni Kid, a hyperlocal e-newsletter with family happenings published on a weekly basis, which she began with Cohen.
“Two things I’ve seen over and over is that moms are lonely and face a fitness and wellness crisis,” she said.
Along with Cohen, the pair are very active, and understand the benefits of fitness extends beyond the physical realm, to mental health. When the two concluded a walk one day, Cohen suggested a “women’s walk” to his wife.
“We just started exploring what that might look like, what kind of tools we could build, and what kind of community we could create to inspire women to get up, get together, and get going,” he said.
The app, which costs $16 a month, tracks walks, and suggests users travel 25 miles or more each month. Since the mission is to get moms moving, the real goal is up to the individual, or team. It’s based on an honor system, a commitment to do something for oneself.
“We call it ‘walking your way to better,’” Schulman said. Each challenge achieved is rewarded with “wearable inspiration” of engraved jewelry with the monthly theme revolving around empowerment and encouragement. The theme for August was “seek adventure,” September is “be bold.”
The husband and wife split up responsibilities with 99 Walks. Schulman focuses on community and content, while Cohen runs marketing and analytics.
While the focus is on women and mothers, family involvement is encouraged. Beta testing began earlier this year, with an IOS app release in July, and Android equivalent being launching this month. Active members span across the U.S. and Canada, with military spouses taking part overseas.
Schulman and Cohens aid the goal is a million moms. On Wednesday, September 4, 99 Walks will celebrate local moms with a back-to-school walk — a two-mile course with mocktails and surprises — at Barcelona Neck in Sag Harbor beginning 9:30 AM.
The pair also have a podcast called The Weekly Walk, which runs the span of a 30-minute walk, and is available on iTunes, Spotify, and their website.
“There is a tremendous need for women to connect and become more active,” Schulman said. “By addressing that need and really tapping into something important for women and moms, I’m confident that the 99 Walks mission will spread.”