First of all, if you're not familiar with the program, here are the basics:
- Who: 3rd-5th grade girls
- What: Training for a 5K and little games/learning activities/conversations to build self awareness, healthy habits, cooperation and teamwork skills
- When: 2 sessions twice a week for 10 weeks
- Started in 1993 in Charlotte, NC- programs in 44 states now
As the most unhealthy county in the state (unfortunately this week it was just verified that we have this ranking for the second year in a row), we need programs like this! I have been interested in Girls on the Run for a long time and suddenly the timing was right this spring.
It's not just about improving their physical health though- I love these girls and I desperately want for them to be confident that they can tackle whatever lies ahead. And if there's one thing I know to be true- running builds confidence.
Before I joined the cross country team in high school, running even a mile seemed like an almost impossible feat. But after weeks of training, I finished that first 3.1 mile race- conquering something I thought was out of reach. That moment expanded my idea of myself and what I could accomplish. That's what Girls on the Run is about: giving these girls a chance to achieve something that they think is unattainable, to strengthen them for all the opportunities and challenges that they will meet in their lives.
It literally makes me tear up thinking about it.
Of course, I tend to kind of romanticize ideas when they're rolling around in my head. When things play out in real life, however, there are kinks and bumps to work out out. Girls on the Run is no exception. If you're going to get 25 elementary school girls running together, there's going to be a certain amount of whining, "injuries," cliques, and fussing. I'm thrilled to report, however, that friendship, running, team spirit, and general girl power conquer all these things- both on a daily and weekly basis. Just over the few weeks we've been practicing, the girls increased their endurance and maturity and I cannot wait to see where we're at by race day!