From May 16, 2015
Today was our last day of She’s A Runner Girl. For the past six weeks we’ve run, talked, set goals, learned from and supported one another. This morning we brought all that together for our biggest day: race day. Lucky for us, the day dawned beautiful and sunny with a cool breeze, optimal for racing.
The race was a 5K, the furthest that most of our girls have ever run. For some girls, this was intimidating, for others it was a challenge that they were psyched to take on. Whatever their feelings, nearly all of our girls arrived this morning, decked out in their purple Runner Girl shirts and ready to go. Seeing them all there is one of the most amazing sights. Though they may be different ages and come from different backgrounds, they are a team united.
My favorite part of this day is watching the girls surprise themselves and seeing how much they’ve learned these last weeks. This year, my running buddy was one of the 3rd graders from my team that I had not had the chance to run with yet. We started out with some of our other team members, but she was ready to take off, so we upped our pace and off we went.
For three miles, she chatted me be about everything from her family to friends to school to flowers and beyond, weaving in all the little things she’d learned about running. At one point she told me that one of the other girls dared her to run a mile without stopping for a drink. We’d just passed mile two and she had no idea she had gone so far without water. Knowing that she was going above her own expectations powered her through the last mile and she met her goal: to finish the race. She not only finished, but she did so in 41 minutes, arriving before several of her teammates and other racers in the community. Her pride when she crossed the line, the confidence she had in herself is exactly what I hope to see on every girl’s face at the end. It means that we’ve done our job: one more girl has learned how to empower herself.