From March 31, 2015
Run-ner Girl! Run-ner Girl!
In my head, I’m chanting the words over and over again, even though today is just the She’s A Runner Girl program coaches’ meeting. I am so excited for the program to start that even though I am completely and utterly exhausted, I am thrilled for yet another activity to be beginning in my life.
Runner Girl is near and dear to my heart. As a runner, running is something I love to encourage others in doing. I recognize that running may not be for everyone, in that not everyone enjoys it as much as I do, but I do believe that no matter who you are, running can make a difference in your life. And, this is what Runner Girl is all about. We aim to empower girls through running and help them to learn skills that will help them to become confident, determined women. Some people may question if this is possible, but I am here to tell you, it for sure is.
When I was just beginning junior high, my mum signed me up for cross country. That first practice kicked my butt, but I had made a deal with my mum that I would at least try it for one season and then I didn’t have to do it again if I didn’t want to.
Well, I went back the next year. And the next. And the next. The running never got easier, but I got faster and fell in love with it. I learned that if I set my heart and mind on a goal I made, that I could reach it with enough practice, patience and effort. Running taught me about determination. It showed me what I was capable of if I believed in myself and tried my best. Running taught me how to set challenging, yet achievable goals. It showed me how rewarding it was to do something simply for myself. Running helped me connect with others. It gave me something to be good at and in doing so, boosted my confidence. That confidence is what I needed to come out of my shell of shyness.
Running made a huge difference in my life, and it was one of the things that prompted my mum to start the Runner Girls program with one of her fellow running friends. Now, five years later, our program reaches out to seventy girls in our community. For six weeks, we play games, run together and talk about health, goals and self-efficacy. After six weeks we join the community in running a 5K and it is truly amazing to see the difference in our girls. The grins on their faces when they cross the finish line, having reached their goals, is simply priceless.