Mothers of the Ambassador Team

Athletic Spotlight: Mothers of the Ambassador Team

Because May is a special month for mothers across the world, we wanted to do something a little bit different for the Ambassador Spotlight and highlight some of the amazing mothers from our own ambassador community.


We want to extend an extra special thank you to these amazing women for sharing their journey through motherhood. Their stories are touching tributes to their families, and we hope they offer some inspiration and admiration to all those who read them.


We’d also like to extend gratitude to all of the mothers out there in the Athletic Brewing community! If you feel moved by the words of these amazing women, we invite you to share your story on social.


Don’t forget to tag @athleticbrewing on all social channels. We can’t wait to hear your stories!






Ambassador name: Allison Richards

Current city: Kennebunkport, ME

Favorite Athletic brew: Soul Sour

Main sport/activity: Triathlon


How has your life changed since becoming a mother?


It feels cliché to say “motherhood changes everything,” but in my case it really did.


I found out I was pregnant at the age of 21 as a senior in college. At that time, or really any point in my early life, motherhood was not even a speck on my radar. I was terrified. I was entirely uncertain about every aspect of my life – what I would do, where I would go, or if I even had the capacity to care and provide for another human.


I lost my father unexpectedly two years prior and to put it lightly: I was a total mess. Not dealing with the emotional fallout of his death, I had disconnected from family and friends and was deep into early alcoholism. In late 2007, I put my tail between my legs and asked for help. I re-evaluated my relationship with alcohol – mainly out of necessity.  I postponed my final semester of college and moved to Maine to stay with my mother and stepfather as I prepared to become a mother. I owe these two individuals more than words can express – they were my rock and anchor point. To this day, there is a special, unbreakable bond they have with my son, William.


After William was born, there was this previously unknown love that emerged – it’s common for parents to talk about this new awareness. I was no different. This little human was beautiful and ripped open parts of my heart I didn’t know existed. He was, and is, my “Little Love” – a name I still refer to him as even though he is 6’4”.


However, there are some hard-hitting, unglamorous components of motherhood. This new, overwhelming love for William was foiled with a need to run – a need to be free. I felt stagnant, lost, and totally alone.


Eventually, and gradually, I turned back to alcohol to subdue these feelings. I felt like there were two people living inside me: One who loved and cared for this human with all my soul and the other who wanted to scream in the middle of a crowded room and run. This went on for several years. I was a “functional alcoholic” and therefore could justify this duality of personality. There were OUIs; there were extended periods of sobriety; there was joy; and there was chaos.


I first got really sober in 2013 when my son was 5.  I say “really” because it was the first time I intended to actually be sober, to change the course of my life for good. It was an ugly and horrible time that spiraled into complete chaos. I was living in Connecticut and had gotten my third OUI in five years. I was convicted of Felony OUI and sentenced to four months in a state prison.


From the outside, I looked like your typical young mom. I had a good job. I lived in a nice neighborhood and took care of my house and family. On the inside, I was dying. This was the first time in my life I recognized I could lose William – I could lose the one thing I truly loved.


I enrolled in a 30-day inpatient program and started to piece my life back together.  It was at that facility that I started to learn who I was, the value I held, and that I could indeed be the mother I wanted to so badly.  I started attending meetings and creating a network of sober friends.  William was always in tow with snacks, toys, and books.


I separated from William’s father, moved the two of us into our own place, and found as my focal point drifted away from alcohol I was becoming a damn good mother. We moved back to Maine in 2016 as this dynamic duo – ready to take on the world.  We took road trips, we hiked, we camped, we rode bikes, and swam. I allowed that need for freedom and movement to be a constructive component of his upbringing.


Motherhood was no longer the weight that held me down but a modality to experience the world through two sets of eyes – both curious and eager.


I know I cannot tie my sobriety to another human being – that my sobriety cannot rest upon someone else’s shoulders. I can say, in complete honesty, that my drive for sobriety would never have occurred if William hadn’t been a part of my life. I’ve found that sometimes life comes at you sideways and upon dealing with one thing, you’ve laid the groundwork for something else entirely.


As someone who never intended to be a mother; I’ve found myself in a place where my life is whole and happy because of my son.


What is your favorite aspect of motherhood?


Watching my son grow into this incredible human being – for sure! While every phase of motherhood has its joys and its challenges, these last few years have been a turning point in our relationship. William has grown from this curious and impulsive little kid into this unbelievably fun, bitingly witty, ferociously loyal and hardworking man. There are days I look at him or listen to the conversation we are having and am overwhelmed with joy that he is “my person.” 


He is now 16 years old and a sophomore in high school, meaning he is embarking on this new phase of independence. For so many years, it was just us charging through life together, and therefore, you would think this phase would be heartbreaking. It does have a certain twinge at times. With high school comes new challenges for us both to navigate. I’m learning to guide actively from the wings – which is easier said than done.  I know he needs me as he always has – but in a different way.


Ultimately, I’m beyond proud of the young man he has become and curious to see how he will continue to grow and flourish. The excitement of him creating his own place in the world, his own routine, and the confidence he gains from it is beyond my wildest dreams.


How has Athletic empowered you in your motherhood journey?


On the surface, Athletic provides me the opportunity to maintain my sobriety and still enjoy beverages I love. They have crafted a world-class product!


On a deeper level, Athletic Brewing has created a culture that encourages us to live life to its full potential, engaging with and supporting the community, and living with intention and integrity.  These are all values I strive to bring into my everyday life and pass on to my son. 


As an Athletic Ambassador, I’ve had ample opportunities to put these values into practice. Most recently, in April 2023, I was a member of Team Athletic at the Athletic Brewing IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside race. Since moving back to Maine, triathlon has become a major part of my life.  It challenges me physically and mentally (and sometimes emotionally too!) to keep pushing, to keep fighting, and to keep finding a better version of myself.


William sees the amount of work, sweat, and dedication it takes to train for a race of this caliber.  He sees how I structure my time to be fully present for him, my partner, and my job but also stay true to this thing I love. He understands that triathlon is a healthy outlet and passion. He sees the supportive community the sport offers and the incredible friendships I’ve formed along the way.  Being able to participate as part of Team Athletic amplified all these things. 


In turn, he, too, has found his love for football in the same way I love triathlon. He works year-round in the gym and on the field being the best player he can be. His work ethic is second to none.  He dedicated so much time and energy to training and has built a brotherhood of friends who share the same core values.This past year, his high school team won the state championship, and it was an amazing journey to ride shotgun for.



Ambassador name: Julie Marshall

Current city: Dartmouth, MA

Favorite Athletic brew: Free Wave

Main sport/activity: Running


How has your life changed since becoming a mother?


My life has changed so drastically since becoming a mother. I had severe PPD/ PPA, and I vowed to make mental health and physical health my No. 1 priority.


Not only does this put me in an incredible position to be in control of my health, but it also teaches my boys. I want them to see that their mom takes care of herself and that she is strong and chases her goals no matter how big they seem. I want them to be able to turn those qualities into their non-negotiables, to know anything is possible if they put their mind to it and don’t give up.


What is your favorite aspect of motherhood?

My favorite aspect is having two built-in best friends. My boys make me laugh, challenge me, teach me, and help me grow. I’d never be half the person I am today if I wasn’t their mom.


How has Athletic empowered you in your motherhood journey?

Athletic has empowered me to do things I didn’t think were possible before, like not drinking and being comfortable in new environments, and it’s helped me be the very best athlete I can be without compromising my goals and my health.


Athletic makes it possible to enjoy an NA brew with no regrets, and there’s no better feeling. Through motherhood with Athletic, I can show my boys that you don’t have to compromise your health and quality of life to still have fun and do big things.



Ambassador name: Kristine Beard

Current city: Lincoln, CA

Favorite Athletic brew: Lodge Life

Main sport/activity: Running


How has your life changed since becoming a mother?

My life has become so much better since becoming a mother because I feel like I see the world not only through my eyes but also through my sons' now. From a young age, he has been very intuitive and seems to know so much about deep topics. It’s fascinating to listen to him, and I’m always learning something new.


What is your favorite aspect of motherhood?

My favorite aspect of motherhood is just watching my son learn new things. He’s so interested in space. Since he was 3, he was saying he wanted to be a “spaceologist” and then learned it was an astrophysicist that he actually wants to be. He’s now 8 and still has that aspiration.


How has Athletic empowered you in your motherhood journey?

For me, Athletic has empowered me in my motherhood by allowing me to be present when I am needed and not have to worry about the hangover headaches. I don’t feel like I need to hide it in a cup or anything.


Plus, with going through cancer treatment since he was born, I have been able to satisfy my taste for beer by not having to worry about how it will affect my treatment.



Ambassador name: Rebecca Houston

Current city: St. Paul, MN

Favorite Athletic brew: Upside Dawn

Main sport/activity: Strongman/weightlifting


How has your life changed since becoming a mother?

Becoming a mother has undoubtedly transformed my life in countless beautiful ways. From the moment I welcomed my son into the world, each day has been filled with profound moments of joy, growth and love. My priorities have shifted, and I've discovered a different kind of strength within myself that I never knew existed.


What is your favorite aspect of motherhood?

My favorite aspect of motherhood is the combination of challenges and triumphs that have enlightened me to a deeper sense of purpose and fulfillment. The journey of motherhood is a testament to the incredible power of love and the endless possibilities of growth and transformation both within my son and myself.


How has Athletic empowered you in your motherhood journey?

Athletic has helped my motherhood journey by allowing me to reclaim moments of enjoyment amid the chaos. With Athletic brews, I can unwind and recharge without worrying about the effects on my responsibilities as a parent. It's a small act of self-care that reminds me I deserve moments of tranquility and indulgences.



Ambassador name: Erika Marchwinski

Current city: Swansea, Illinois

Favorite Athletic brew: Trailblazer

Main sport/activity: Triathlon


How has your life changed since becoming a mother?

Being a mother has made me realize that I am far stronger than I ever previously believed. Motherhood has not come easy for me. With an infertility diagnosis, the journey to becoming a mom has been both traumatic and heartbreaking at times. I am a different person coming out the other side, and I am better for it. I have also found myself able to push farther physically in my postpartum years. Motherhood comes with all kinds of superpowers!


What is your favorite aspect of motherhood?

I love seeing the world through their eyes. They are so innocent and kind, and they can find fun in anything. I am far more creative, patient and aware because of them, and I can now name an impressive amount of dinosaurs!


How has Athletic empowered you in your motherhood journey?

Alcohol used to play a big part in my life. I would play it off as a love for craft beer, but it was definitely leading to some unhealthy behavior. I “missed” alcohol during my first pregnancy and very much looked forward to drinking again afterward. I breastfed but would time feeding/pumping around brewery visits to be able to get my pints in. This led to an added anxiety around drinking.


After my second pregnancy, I knew I wanted to try something different, so I gave Athletic a shot. I was obsessed. The same craft taste was still there but without any of the negative side effects. I confirmed that the things I liked about craft beer went much further than the alcohol contact and quickly realized I didn't miss it at all.


I continue to willingly choose Athletic over alcohol far past the postpartum period and love setting that example for our children.



Ambassador name: Jillian Reyna

Current city: Northfield, OH

Favorite Athletic brew: Downwinder

Main sport/activity: Marathon running


How has your life changed since becoming a mother?

My life has changed for the better! I never knew I could love something so much. I feel that I have a better outlook on life all around – I don’t take things quite so seriously anymore and don’t sweat the small stuff. I thoroughly enjoy the little moments, even if they aren’t “perfect.”


What is your favorite aspect of motherhood?

I love knowing that everything I do in life is now bigger than myself.  I have more purpose and I love that! 


How has Athletic empowered you in your motherhood journey?

Athletic has empowered me because I can still socialize and be myself without compromise.  Middle of the night and early wake-ups require me to feel my best, and drinking Athletic drinks helps me feel good compared to other choices. I also love the Athletic Brewing community where I have the opportunity to connect with other mothers!



Ambassador name: Whitney Williford

Current city: Warren, TX

Favorite Athletic brew: Free Wave

Main sport/activity: Stroller running, weightlifting


How has your life changed since becoming a mother?

I didn't realize it changed until a few years ago when I had my second son. I didn't really change my lifestyle with my first where alcohol and drugs were still present. The natural weight of responsibility that motherhood comes with was lifting when I stopped drinking, not the other way around.


Being able to teach my kids how to be a good human being while practicing it myself, and sober, has been the best part.


What is your favorite aspect of motherhood?

Being a boy mom! Seeing the “ah ha” moments when something just clicks is so fun!


How has Athletic empowered you in your motherhood journey?

It has empowered the conversation about alcohol versus non-alcoholic beverage options and the why behind it!

Ambassador Spotlight: Cody McKay
Previous Ambassador

Ambassador Spotlight: Cody McKay