When I was in Kindergarten at Charlotte Country Day School, I saw some of the very first girls to ever participate in Girls on the Run running around, laughing, and playing, I knew I wanted to be one of them. I soon found out that no matter how much I begged my mom, kindergarteners couldn’t join Girls on the Run, and I would have to wait a few years until I was in 3rd grade.
I wasn’t really willing to wait that long, so my first time participating in Girls on the Run was a weeklong summer camp, the summer before 3rd grade. Molly Barker, the founder of Girls on the Run, taught that camp and it was the best! At the time, I didn’t realize just how impressive and inspiring Molly Barker was and just how big Girls on the Run would become, but I knew it was fun and that I wanted to keep doing it!
I participated in Girls on the Run for as long as I could after that. Being a Girl on the Run was never about being the fastest or the best, it was about supporting each other, learning about healthy habits and having fun. One time I tried to skip for the entire practice 5K instead of running it. It was A LOT slower than running but had me laughing the whole time. I ran every 5K with my mom and we always had fun, even the time it was 40 degrees and raining. In the winter, we all ran as a team in the larger Reindeer Romp Race in downtown Charlotte and in the spring there was a small 5K for all of the Girls on the Run teams. To this day, my mom and I still run together whenever I am home, just like we did back then (sadly no one gives us beaded necklaces when we finish a mile).
After I became too old to participate in Girls on the Run, I still wanted to be a part of the Girls on the Run community. In college, I became a coach and it was inspiring to see the girls go from barely running one lap to easily running a 5K by the end of the season. No matter what type of week I had, it always got better when I went to practice and saw the girls. What amazed me most, though, was how much bigger and how much more of a phenomenon Girls on the Run had become since I was a participant. When we went to our first 5K, I assumed there would be one small 5K in Charlotte, just like when I was little, but I was very wrong. Not only were there two 5K’s just for Charlotte, the 5K was gigantic. There was a DJ and a Happy Hair station and everywhere you looked there were more and more girls smiling, running, cheering each other on and having fun.
The Girls on the Run Advisory Council allows me to continue to be involved with Girls on the Run now that I have moved to Montgomery County, Maryland and am working fulltime. The Board helps promote awareness of Girls on the Run and its members serve as ambassadors for Girls on the Run. Now I get to continue to contribute and spread the word about the great organization that meant so much to me when I was little.
As a participant, coach, and Adcisory Counil member, I know first hand how empowering, life-changing and unique the Girls on the Run experience is. It is inspiring to see how much the organization that I love has grown and how many girls get the opportunity to experience what I did when I was little. I hope to continue to be a part of this organization for many years to come and to help inspire girls to be happy and confident just like other Girls on the Run coaches and volunteers did for me so many years ago.The Girls on the Run of Montgomery County Young Professionals Board is looking for members! Click here to learn more and apply.