Ten years ago, I ran my first half marathon. I was a Freshman in college, and I trained on a diet consisting mostly of large Reese’s cup blizzards from Dairy Queen (oh youth, I miss you). It was a family affair (as running often was as I was growing up) and I ran the Indianapolis Mini Marathon with my parents, sister, brother in law and roommate. I had people around me who delighted in the sport of endurance running and knew that it was a practice in discipline, self care, and also a sport we could participate in as a family.
At the Indianapolis Mini Marathon 6 months after Navy was born, running with Maddie
On a sister run in North Captiva, FL
Our family supporting Maddie as she ran her first marathon in Chicago (I was pregnant with Navy)
As a young girl, I took for granted the gift of family activity that my parents gave us. Running was one of the things we could always join our parents in doing. I didn’t have to look far to find a running buddy. During some of our runs together, moving in step with each other, side by side, I remember having many deep and meaningful conversations about life. Running side by side, reaching points of physical exhaustion and pushing through those feelings of weakness created a vulnerable but safe place to talk to my parents about anything that was on my mind. But for many young girls, that isn’t the case. And it’s not just about running. It’s about so much more. It’s about having a buddy who will help you navigate change; adult mentors who believe in you; a community of friends who support and encourage; a challenging goal that you can achieve through hard work and determination; a safe place to have healthy conversations, and so much more. Thanks to my mom’s board involvement in Girls on the Run, we are very invested in our local chapter of this amazing organization, and our passion for supporting, engaging with and encouraging young runners carries on, even though we don’t run as a Helman crew any longer.
In March, nearly ten years to the month after my first half marathon, I’ll be participating in another half marathon, and this time, I am privileged to run as a SoleMate for Girls on the Run. Running as a SoleMate allows me to achieve my fitness goals while benefitting the organization that I love so dearly. In October, I gave birth to my own girl and someday I hope she has the opportunity to run in a Girls on the Run program. Until then, I will do everything in my power to call attention to the amazing things this organization is doing through the generosity of its supporters. By supporting my race and giving to Girls on the Run, you are providing the vital funds needed to provide scholarships to girls whose families cannot afford the program enrollment, you are providing shoes to girls who don’t have proper footwear, you are funding new sites and you are contributing to the growth of this awesome program.
Let’s come together with the goal of empowering the next generation of women; women who will break glass ceilings, help one another, cheer each other on, put an end to bullying, create a culture of self love, and have an awareness of health and physical activity. Women who realize that in order to achieve goals, it
may be will be hard. You may want to quit. But if you surround yourself with the right people, you will succeed. I’m happy to be a SoleMate, one of many individuals surrounding the Girls on the Run in my community with the financial and physical support they need to be successful. I invite you to join me by donating if you are able. Your financial support means the world to me, and I will humbly run my half marathon in gratitude to each and every person who believes in raising strong, brave, healthy, kind girls.
I am a Girl on the Run. Join me. Give here.