Girls on the Run (GOTR) is a non-profit organization that inspires girls (grades 3-5) to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. The program instills self-esteem and strong values through health education, life skills development, mentoring relationships, and physical training.
Each GOTR season culminates with a 5K, in which the girls are encouraged to participate and finish, whether by walking or running. As a board member for the Treasure Valley chapter of GOTR, I was on the steering committee for our first self-hosted 5K. Through the experience, I gained a much deeper appreciation for the level of logistical attention required to plan and manage a running event! Were it not for our our fearless leader and Treasure Valley chapter president, Melissa Bixby, the event would not have been possible.
I’m also excited to say that that our first 5K was a huge success! The event was held last Saturday in beautiful Hidden Springs, Idaho, with the rolling hills a lovely backdrop to the enthusiasm and support shared in the valley below.
Melissa, who works tirelessly to support this organization and promote a healthy lifestyle for the girls in our community, had this to say:
Saturday was a perfect day for our first annual Girls on the Run 5K! A bit chilly at first, but by the start of the race it was perfect weather for a run/walk.
Girls on the Run had over 500 girls and running buddies in the event. The girls worked hard all season long to complete this 5K goal that might have seemed daunting 8 weeks ago. There were lots of smiles along the course and many girls finished in record time! Way to Go!
We are most appreciative to all of the amazing coaches, running buddies, parents, family members and friends who were encouraging and motivating along the way.
Throughout the day, I rotated around and along the course, carrying out whatever duties were needed at the time – from setting up cones to transporting volunteers to kicking off the race to helping coral the girls at the finish (and pretty much everything in between). The best part of day– hands down– was seeing the smiles on the girls’ faces as they crossed the finish line. A twinkle of pride and accomplishment could be seen in their eyes, and in some, the tears streaming down their faces. Though it’s admirable to watch a young girl stride effortlessly across the finish line in 23 minutes (astounding!), it’s equally as impressive to watch a small child being escorted by her team to close the race.
I’m proud of the girls and proud to have been part of a great experience. And I’m also reminded that it’s not about winning or losing a race, it’s about having the courage to compete. Boy, girl, man, or woman, 5K, 10K, or marathon, crossing that finish line teaches us a lot about courage and self-esteem to conquer most any event in life.