A little more than five years ago, I began training for my first 5K race. I decided to run the Girls on the Run 5K as a practice before the “real” race. I went to that GOTR event to gain experience, but left wanting to be more involved.
That fall I became a GOTR coach and began increasing my own mileage. There was something embedded in the lessons that encouraged me to go further. My 5Ks quickly turned into 10Ks. I found myself joining races all over town. After a couple years of completing 10Ks, I was ready to take on longer distances and do more for Girls on the Run. I became a SoleMate.
My original goal was to complete 50 race miles and raise $500. In January 2016, I began training for my first half marathon, an intimidating distance. As I pushed myself to go further, I thought about all the young girls who benefit from Girls on the Run. At challenging times, I could hear them cheering me on, so I kept running.
The running allowed me to raise funds for Girls on the Run. Every time I raced, I asked for donations. Initially, I was uncomfortable, but as people began to make donations and give me encouraging words, it became easier to ask. I started to see I was making a positive impact; it strengthened my confidence because I was taking action.
As I approached the 50th mile, I realized the tremendous support I had empowered me to do more,andraised my goal to 100 miles. I found additionalhalf marathons and 10Ks to add to my on-going total. I continued to train. I set realistic running goals for myself, just like we help the girls do in our Girls on the Run lessons. I had some disappointing race times, but celebrated my completed miles. Each mile I ran put me closer to my goal. Those same miles made me stronger. They gave me more experience. This January, I crossed the finish line of my last race of the 100 miles. I was overjoyed with what I had accomplished. I raised over $500 for this amazing program.
Through running, I found courage and confidence.I have begun training for my first full marathon to show my limitless potential. My hope is to inspire others, especially little girls with big dreams, to achieve things they never thought possible.
I believe in the values of Girls on the Run and do my best to live these ideals. Running as a SoleMate has enabled me to embrace who I am, define who I want to be, and rise to the challenge!