Girls On The Run's Annual 5k
On your mark. Get set. Go! On Sunday May 6th we will be volunteering with Girls On The Run (@GOTRLA) at their annual 5k!
Girls On The Run is a program for girls from 3rd to 5th grade that teaches them life lessons & helps build character through exercise and community service. The program concludes with a celebratory 5K.
Our volunteers will help out at the following three stations:
START WAVE LEADERS: Start things off with fun and flair by holding a sign to organize runners in their teams pre-race. (Must be 18 or older)
START MONITORS: Tap into your inner bouncer and help make sure only participants with a race bib start the race AND join in the fun of encouraging all the runners pre-race! (Must be 21 or older)
CHEER STATION: Cheer the runners around the course. Bring signs, noise makers, and your best smile! (All ages welcome
I first found out about Girls On The Run at this years Women's March. ResisterhoodLA had a booth there and at one point I wondered around the tented area of organizations in order to network and stumbled across them -- how that's for accidental outreach?
It was there I found out they were a non-profit that had a 10 month program where girls in 3rd-8th grade develop essential skills to help them navigate their worlds and establish a lifetime appreciation for health and fitness. The program culminates with girls positively impacting their communities through a service project and being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5K event. They were in need of volunteers for the event in May and I immediately wanted to do it.
Growing up as a tomboy I was well versed in sports, playing everything from street hockey to gymnastics. As far as I know, I still hold the record at my elementary school for the fastest sprint time in the physical fitness test (don't fact check me on that). Needless to say, I have always an affinity for sports and exercise. But being more of a sprinter, I dreaded longer runs. Remember having to do the mile for gym? Yeah, I hated that too. I could run for hours playing a sport, but running to just run? No, thank you. And I grew up pre-iPod so no music could help get you through it. Basically, it was a nightmare!
Even as an adult I've run a few Thanksgiving Day 5Ks to feel better about all the food I'd eat that day, but it's hard. I know all too well what it's like to get stuck with your own thoughts, especially when you're tired and the self doubt creeps in. It's a slippery slope into giving up entirely. So I know the value of having someone cheer you on. To give you that extra boost you need to find your second wind and finish strong.
We started our day with Girls On The Run by helping the 1,200+ participants get into their proper heat waves. Some were excitedly donning colorful capes, tutus, and even unicorn headbands. While others had the thousand mile stare as they dreaded starting this thing. Some had family and friends cheering them on with signs, but some did not. That's where we came in.
A group of us headed down the track, just around the corner from where the race would end. Fellow resister Gina Hermosillo (and art department employee extraordinaire) provided us with some purple pom-pom's to cheer on the girls as they headed into the last stretch of the run.
Around 25 mins after the start of the race we started to see the first few girls make their way to the finish line. Those leading the pack approached us at a near sprint as we cheered them on, letting them know they were almost done and to "finish strong!" After that there was a steady stream of participants and coaches, red faced and tired, but still jogging for the finish. Eventually we all formed a high five line and cheered them on as we chanted "Almost Done! Almost Done!" You could see many of them go from a light jog to a full on run as we cheered them on. Some who approached us at a walk would start jogging and smiling. We all agreed that at some point in your life you should run down a line of people giving you high fives. It's always nice to get a sense that people you don't know are cheering you on as you do something difficult. And there was an overall sense that we were energizing them, giving them that last boost of confidence to finish. Also most of us lost our voices by the time the race was done.
Having run other 5Ks and played in playoff games when I was dead tired but couldn't sub out, I know the value of pushing yourself to finish. When your lungs hurt from breathing so hard, and your legs feel like they are going to give out. There's a relief when you're done, but there's also pride in knowing you did something hard. Once you prove to yourself that you can do it, suddenly other challenges whether they be physical or emotional don't seem as intimidating. Personally I grew up a lot on sports fields and race tracks and I wouldn't be the person I am today without it.
The other thing I heard many of our resisterhoodLA volunteers mentioned was that seeing these young girls complete a 5K was a motivator to us adults to get out and exercise more. First time resisterhoodLA volunteer Cricket mentioned she used to run marathons and other long races so she had first hand knowledge of what the girls were going through, but she also found herself inspired to get back out there again. It's nice to walk away from an event not only knowing you did something good for people, but feeling inspired by something the Girls On The Run program teaches at its core: self empowerment through exercise.
Contributed by Colleen Evanson, TV Writer, CADEM Delegate and May event organizer
ABOUT GIRLS ON THE RUN
At Girls on the Run we inspire girls to recognize their inner strength and celebrate what makes them one of a kind. Trained coaches lead small teams through our research-based curricula which includes dynamic discussions, activities and running games. Over the course of the ten-week program, girls in 3rd-8th grade develop essential skills to help them navigate their worlds and establish a lifetime appreciation for health and fitness. The program culminates with girls positively impacting their communities through a service project and being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5K event.