Since the beginning of this school year, my oldest daughter has been involved in a program called Girls on the Run. In addition to training to run a 5k over the course of the semester, their leaders have taught them about empowerment, facing challenges, and pursuing their dreams. The mission of Girls on the Run is
“We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident
using a fun, experience based curriculum which creatively integrates running”
Can I get an AMEN??
Running has been my “thing” for several years now and while Ava has seen me run, she summed up her experience with running track as “I like it all except for the running part”. Earlier this fall when she expressed an interest in joining GOTR, I was hesitant as I want her to find her “thing” and not simply do what mama does. But then her best friend signed up and that was all she wrote!
Last Saturday girls from all over our county joined up to run the Girls on the Run of Central Indiana 5k. The weather was perfect. A bit chilly, no wind and not a cloud in the sky.
Pre-race activities included making signs, headbands and shooting pictures in the photo booth. Raising strong confident girls is at the top of my parenting to do list. And I will be forever grateful for organizations like GOTR that help to instill these values into my daughters.
During the race, I had to recognize something about myself. I am not a competitive person at all until my Brooks are laced up and I’m at the starting line. During a race is the only time I feel that drive to “win”. My daughter does not have that same drive. During the race I struggled with the balance of a cheerleader mom (“You can do this!!”) and a running coach (“No more walking, run faster, breathe”). Until finally I gave it up. Instead of worrying whether we were running or walking, whether we were passing folks or not, I prayed Hebrews 12:1 over my daughter and all the other girls, moms, dads, coaches, running buddies who shared those 3.1 miles.
“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out before us”
I would be lying if I said that I didn’t hope Ava continued with Girls on the Run next spring. I would love running to become “our” thing. But if she chooses dance or basketball or underwater basket weaving, I pray my daughter has the confidence, courage, and drive to run the race marked out before her.
If you are interested in volunteering for this great organization, visit this page. You do not have to be a runner or a mother or a teacher. You could coach, sign up to be a running buddy or simply make a monetary donation. Empowering girls and developing a love of running can be done by anyone!