In June I volunteered at a 5K that was organized by Girls on the Run. That was my first exposure to GOTR and even though I had an easy job that only took about 10 minutes of work, I was totally changed from it.
My job at this 5K was to direct the runners to stay on course and direct traffic away from the race. I wasn't at a turning point in the course, so the runners just had to run right by me and there was barely any traffic to worry about. My job turned more into cheering for the runners and walkers for the couple of minutes that they were passing by.
Once everyone had run by I headed to the finish line to see watch people there and was almost moved to tears. I watched as young girls and their coaches crossed the finish line together, each girl beaming with pride. After seeing this 5K, all I wanted to do was become a coach!
Soon after the 5K reached out to the GOTR NH staff and asked if there were any teams that needed an additional coach. I was placed with a team at a charter school nearby and before I knew it, I was attending CPR/First Aid Training, Coach Training and going to our first practice!
As we started working through the curriculum, we all got to know each other and learned lessons like celebrating our differences and our similarities, cooperating as a team, bullying, gossip, and contributing to your community.
We ran laps. We played games. We organized a drive to collect items for the SPCA. We did warm up exercises and stretched. We did cheers and gave each other energy awards. We ate snacks. We skipped. We walked. We joked and laughed and made friends.
Girls who are 7-10 are silly, they are kind, they are open minded and they are loving. They are determined and are proud when they meet their goals.
Girls on the Run was the best part of my day each time we had practice. I watched the girls learn and grow and they would without a doubt put a smile on my face each day we were together.
Before I knew it we were reaching 5K day. We did a practice 5K and even that practice was so special. Everyone was so proud that they finished and cheered for their teammates (and even kept running with them) until the whole team had completed 3.1 miles. Each girl gained confidence for the end of season 5K through this practice and lost a little bit of their nervousness.
The end of season 5K was COLD, but everyone genuinely had a great time. We joined together as a team one last time, pinned on bibs, sprayed our hair fun colors, got our faces painted, warmed up with every team in the state and headed towards the starting line.
I tried to find as many of the girls on my team as I could as I ran. Once I found someone who was near the front I stayed running with her and her mom the rest of the way. We crossed the finish line and stayed there cheering until our whole team finished.
Running this 5K as our end of season celebration was an amazing culmination of our time together as a team. It truly was a CELEBRATION and the girls and coaches enjoyed every cold minute of it!
I can't wait to coach again next season!
Hi, I'm Jessie!
I live in NH with my husband and our pups. My favorite things are coaching Girls on the Run, eating good food that I didn't have to cook, helping other people work on their health, volunteering for and running races, watching tv, doing yoga, and spending too much time on social media. #Balance