This Runner's Trials
5Dec/1016

Girls on the Run is so much fun

A year ago, I moved to Charlotte. I knew the move would be hard. I wanted to get involved in my new community and meet people, but as a full-time telecommuter, it was a bit challenging.

Then I saw an ad for a nonprofit organization in Runner’s World called Girls on the Run. The program seemed to be the perfect fit me. Helping young girls develop a healthy body image and positive self-esteem while training for a 5k race? Sign me up!

I was so happy when I found out my local chapter had an opening for a coach in January.

I’ve now coached GOTR for two seasons and cannot say enough good things about the program. The GOTR girls have taught me a lot. I’ve learned the same lessons as my excellent assistant coach, Coach Caitlin (whom will forever be known as Coach Caitlin now).

But I think the reason I enjoy GOTR so much is because I could have greatly benefited from a program like this between ages 8-10.

During third through fifth grade, I danced and played softball. I was just ok at both activities and was well aware of my mediocrity. I understood why my dance teacher placed me in the back row during our ballet recitals. I knew that nothing I did contributed to my softball team’s wins. My teams successes and failures did not depend on me. I felt useless.

When coaching, I made it my goal that none of my GOTR girls would ever feel this way. Luckily, the GOTR format really doesn’t allow for mediocrity. When the girls complete that 5k race at the end, each one knows she earned that medal. Her achievement was all because of her drive and determination, no one else’s.

This is one reason why I still enjoy running so much. When I fail, I have no one to blame but myself (ok, sometimes Mother Nature and lactose get some heat). And when I do awesome, I know it’s because I worked my butt off.

Saturday was our GOTR Reindeer Romp 5k. Our little reindeers were cold but excited. In fact, the only thing our girls were nervous about was that their parents would slow them down. (Each girl must race with a running buddy, and most of them ran with a parent.)

They each ran their little hearts out and earned that medal. The girl I ran with most of the time even ran negative splits! What kind of 8 year old does that?! We only stopped running once; at the one water station. We finished around 35 minutes, and I told her repeatedly, most adults couldn’t do that.

I hope the girls understand how awesome they are. We told them this every day at practice, reiterated it on the race course, and again at the finish line.

My wish for these girls is that they always remember how it felt to cross the finish line, and that they know they’re far from average.

Thanks Coach Caitlin for the pictures.

Do you volunteer? Do you want to? Get involved with your local GOTR chapter! Don’t say “but I work full time”. Your company may support volunteering like mine. And if you work for a large company, they may even make a donation in your name to the nonprofit you work with. Volunteer. All the cool people do it. You won’t regret it ;)

And thanks for all of the concern about my furball :) He's now walking on his leg but we're not sure if it's a result of healing or the drugs...

Comments (16) Trackbacks (2)
  1. I love the concept behind GOTR. I work with so many young ladies who would benefit from this great program. I really wish we had a local chapter. After all, I am and “On The Run” girl.

    Congrats on another great season! You did something really incredible for those girls.

  2. 35 minutes?! That’s awesome – and you’re right most adults couldn’t do that. They should all be really proud, it’s a great program.

  3. As the mom of a GOTR participant, I can’t sing enough praise for the program.
    I’ve been my neighbor’s buddy runner twice and my daughter ran with my husband in her first GOTR 5k yesterday. Despite the cold weather, we had a blast.

    Thank you for volunteering your time. It means more than you know.

  4. I loveeeee volunteering and I plan on doing it forever. I had to quit volunteering at the homeless shelter because of safety issues, but I know I will find something I love.

  5. I was going to do GOTR this fall, but am taking on an internship for a kids running and nutrition program. I am so excited to see how I can help kids with the internship!

  6. I would LOVE to volunteer for something like that. I’ve volunteered at schools and hospitals throughout college, but I would really love to do something like GOTR. I’m not sure I will have time in grad school, but when I’m finished it would be great to take on something like that.

  7. I have submitted my GOTR coaching application to help in my community. I’m waiting to hear back from them! :)

  8. Yeah, I’m planning on volunteering on a program called “HOTR” – Husband on the run ;) Well this is only a partial joke, I’d really like my husband to Feel it. That satisfaction in crossing the finish line, he needs it so much. Just like “your” girls. There isn’t a program like GOTR here, but I would volunteer for sure, sport helped me so much when I was a kid!

  9. I ran a 5k with some first timers friends (all females) last October, I came in around 25 min, the rest came way past 35 min, that’s incredible for a little girl. She must (and ought to) be crazy proud!
    Love the GOTR concept, maybe I should start the South American chapter

  10. This post makes me happy and the pictures are adorable. Little running reindeer! So cute. You’re a rockstar for getting involved and taking on such a huge role in the program. Awesome job!

  11. yay for GOTR! I still remember when you first found out about it, how excited you were to start coaching! Love the pics, so cute!
    I have done a lot of different things, mostly through church and mission trips. Once we move into our new home in our new city I am going to get back into doing something regulary again!

  12. Soooo precious!! I love that you coached and so great each girl got a medal. I used to do something like this for my local rec department and I actually used to go to the camp too when I was younger. Makes me want to get back at it- I loved coaching!

  13. I really REALLY love the entire concept behind GOTR. Like you, I also wish I had a program like this when I was 8. My shy, insecure, uncoordinated self definitely could have benefited.

    I’m so glad that you’ve had such a great experience with these girls. And I am sure you’ve made a lasting impression on each and every one of them! Congrats to you for 2 seasons — and to all of your girls for crossing that finish line! :)

    Also…glad to hear Nati is walking. Any new info from the vet??

  14. I love to volunteer! I worked with Marathon Kids a little this year.

  15. I was an assistant coach for GOTR this season and echo everything you just said in your post. I may just steal it and swap out the photos. :-) I did sports well enough to not get cut but never was a superstar. I would have loved GOTR in middle school.

  16. I’m a GOTR coach too (another Coach Caitlin!) :) Just stumbled across your blog, and I already love it! Thanks!


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