What Being a MERM Has Meant to Me

By Susan Siderman


10th Anniversary Run/Brunch                Oct. 9, 2005





M is for Membership where 5 qualifications need to be met:

 female, 50+, and wants to have friendship, fitness and fun


E is for Embracing women who have all levels of running or walking



R is for Running which is only part of what we are


M is for Mastering our own fate


As we are all well aware, Title IX of the Educational Amendments

of 1972 banned sex discrimination in schools, whether it be in

academics or athletics, that received federal aid. It literally leveled

the playing field in regard to females being allowed to participate in

team sports. Before that participation females did things like

“Rah-rah-rah” and “Sis-boom-bah” as a team sport. All of us did not

experience the locker room banter of team camaraderie or of butt-

slapping or high-fiving. You and I had to wait until we became a MERM

to immerse ourselves in that experience. I feel that the Mercury

Masters has been MY Title IX. It has provided me with the team

experience that you and I missed out on while attending high school

and college. Running and competing for the team certainly has been a

major part of my membership for the last ten years. However,

the team has so many more components than just that. Where else

could I have experienced female bonding in:


§        Peeing together in bushes, behind trees and under tunnels

§        Greasing our inner thighs before a long run or a marathon

§        Complaining about those inner thighs

§        Hot flashing together and feeling sorry for any male

      who got in our way

§        Looking at very, very cute butts that were our carrots

      in races or training runs

§        Adorning ourselves with “Rings and things and buttons and bows”

      dashing along 5th Avenue, through Soho and into Tribeca on a

      wonderful winter day during holiday season in December

§        Celebrating every MERM runner/walker as she crossed the

finish line in a race, be it the first MERM or the last MERM

and hearing and giving accolades to “just being out there” and

      giving your all

§        Regiving directions to tourists who asked Pat which way is

      uptown and then turning them around

§        Being kicked out, however politely, of the NYRR building

      as we all talked at once and the front desk personnel

      couldn’t concentrate

§        Looking at anything purple and thinking how that would work

      for something MERMISH

§        Learning that running without underpants when wearing

      shorts with a cotton liner is so-o-o-o comfortable


It doesn’t get any better than this. The MERMS is a group of women

where the common thread is running, yes, but where each individual

is valued for her own worth. You can run with any MERM teammate and

the conversation is friendly, warm, comfortable and, yes, sometimes

about running. Whenever and wherever I see my teammates I get

a warm and fuzzy feeling that MY Title IX has given me.


To be a MERM is not only a very good thing;

it’s the best team experience there is.