We envision a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.” ~Girls on the Run
Saturday was another incredible Girls on the Run 5k celebration. While I was not an official running buddy this year, I had the pleasure of running side-by-side with my granddaughter Kanyen. We also ran with her little sister, Emery, and their mother, Courtney.
The weather was perfect; the girls ran strong; and Girls on the Run Utah put on a great race-day celebration, complete with music, hair stations (with lots of color and glitter), face painting, a climbing wall, fueling stations, and swag! The Utah Jazz dancers conducted a spirited warm-up! (One that would have qualified as a complete workout for me!)
More than just another race
Of course, Girls on the Run is much more than a 5k race. It is a celebration of the girls—their strengths and accomplishments—and the people who love and support them. As a recap of the program, I’d like to share an updated version of my GOTR post from last year.
My involvement with GOTR began six years (and seven races) ago as a volunteer running buddy.
I was looking for an opportunity to volunteer where I could make a difference in the lives of young girls, but something that wouldn’t take too much time away from my own grandchildren (all 10 of them!). When I stumbled upon an opportunity that also involved running, I knew I’d found the perfect fit.
We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. we envision a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.”
GOTR was exactly the type of organization I wanted to be involved with, and they were looking for volunteer running buddies. After reading this description, I was sold:
Be the inspiration to a young girl and help her cross the finish line of a non-competitive 5K. The job of a running buddy is to be by a girl’s side for this fun and exciting experience. That means running or walking at her pace, encouraging her to do her best, but also recognizing and respecting her limits. Your commitment is to run twice with your Buddy, once at the practice run (which is usually 2-3 weeks before the race, at the girl’s school) and the day of the main 5K race celebration.”
I registered for the race, passed a background check, and chose a school in my area. GOTR assigned me to a third grade girl who needed a running buddy. I met her for the first time on the day of the practice race. Each of the girls introduced their running buddies (“This is my aunt…This is my mom…). When it was my partner’s turn, she said, “This is my new friend, Christie.” My heart melted, and I knew it was a perfect match.
I loved the experience and volunteered for the next two years. Then in 2016, one of my granddaughters joined the program and asked me to be her running buddy. Of course, I said yes! (Side note: it poured rain that year. This photo is blurred by the rain on the lens.)
In 2017, two granddaughters (sisters) participated for the first time. Their mother and I were going to be the running buddies, but when mom fractured her foot a week before the race, I got two running buddies.
In 2018, the plan we had made for the previous year came to fruition. I had the pleasure of being the running buddy for Kanyen, and their mother, Courtney, ran with Emery.
And that brings us to this year, which I’ve already told you about. And so you are up-to-date- with my GOTR history.
If you are looking for a worthy cause in which to participate, I’d highly recommend that you check out GOTR. In addition to running buddies, they use volunteer coaches, hospitality, and operations volunteers. And don’t be intimidated that you have to be a super runner—most of the volunteers are not.
From the Girls on the Run website
Girls on the Run® is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.
Meeting twice a week in small teams, we teach life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games. The curriculum is taught by certified Girls on the Run coaches and includes three parts: understanding ourselves, valuing relationships and teamwork and understanding how we connect with and shape the world at large.
Running is used to inspire and motivate girls, encourage lifelong health and fitness, and build confidence through accomplishment. Important social, psychological, and physical skills and abilities are developed and reinforced throughout the program. At each season’s conclusion, the girls and their running buddies complete a 5K running event which gives them a tangible sense of achievement as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals. The result—making the seemingly impossible, possible, and teaching girls that they can.
My coach said I ran like a girl, I said if he could run a little faster he could too” ~Mia Hamm
- Do you volunteer with an organization? Which one?
- Do you have grandchildren? How many?
- If you run, what was your favorite race?
- What else is on your mind today? Anything at all.
I will be on vacation (physically and mentally) next week and will not publish a post. I will be back with a Thank You Notes post on Tuesday, June 18.
Post shared on #MLSTL.
Christie is an author and professional communicator who blogs about life transitions, wellness, mindfulness, and anything else that answers the question “So what? Now what?”