Girls on the run: Inspiring young women everywhere

By Jessica Leonard on 24th Aug 2020

Think about the feeling you get after a wonderful workout, or maybe an incredible run where you may have dragged your feet a little bit to start. Or remember a friend in your community cheering you on more than you sometimes cheer for yourself. Those natural endorphins begin to kick in remembering how fantastic you felt, right? These are some of the amazing things that happen during a season-ending Girls on the Run (GOTR) 5k. Imagine, if you will, hundreds of people cheering for you as you accomplish something you have been training for the past 12 weeks – or even longer for!

Races are most magical places, and even though they are not happening in live in person right now – our very own Virtual 5k +Fitness Weekend for GOTR September 11-13, 2020 is designed to continue the possibilities of programming for the future of GOTR.

Girls on the Run is a nonprofit organization that utilizes lessons (home virtual lessons or in person) aiming to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. We envision a world where every girl learns to activate her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams. Our season ends with a celebratory 5k for each GOTR, as well as any friends, family, and community runners that want to participate. This year we are hosting this amazing 5k + Fitness Weekend Virtually – and we invite you to participate! Click this link to register.

As a personal trainer, I became involved from one of my former clients asking me to be her daughter’s Running Buddy, which is someone who is moving right along next to each racer with words of encouragement along each step of her 3.1 miles. Unfortunately, this particular racer wasn’t able to come, but I stayed and volunteered at the face painting booth. I should preface by stating I am not an artist. One beautiful young racer asked me for some inspirational words before her race started. Superstitiously, I always wear a bracelet that says “I WILL” in my races so I decided to paint I WILL on the side of this runner’s cheek. Throughout the race, I found myself on the sidelines cheering for runners of all ages as they swiftly moved by. It was at that moment the world stopped, I saw the proud runner of the girl who I painted just moments before, she looked at me, and we both knew WE WILL be a part of GOTR again. Since that day, I have raced throughout my Ironman triathlons and marathons as a Solemate, SoleMates train for the athletic event of their choice while raising money for GOTR. SoleMates set personal goals such as participating in a triathlon or half marathon event to raise critically needed funds that ensure our council is able to serve more girls in Middle Tennessee.

The finish line is just the beginning of a long race journey for these incredible young women who participate in GOTR, and as a proud board member of our GOTR Middle TN, I would encourage all to sign up for our virtual 5k + Fitness Weekend Your route, your pace, your fitness activity all during the weekend will provide program funding for the future girls of GOTR. We want to continue to build our program, and #keepGOTRMidTNrunning be sure to check our Facebook and Instagram (@gotrmidtn) page for prizes up until race day!

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