Yesterday, I had the opportunity to run as a “Running Buddy” in the Girls On The Run “end of the season” 5k. Running Buddies volunteer to run with the girls as they complete the 5k they’ve been training all season for.
I got up bright, early, and COLD. I was excited, but wasn’t sure what to expect. (I will refrain from posting pictures, and I don’t want to share photos of minors on the blog without their parents permission 🙂
When I arrived, everyone was waiting in a big area to get started. I found the name of the school I was assigned to, and the girl who I was suppose to be running with. Running Buddies are usually assigned to girls who don’t have an adult/parent to run with, but my girl actually had her dad with her. Team work!
She was super nervous. Even though she had been training, she was cold and worried that she her little legs wouldn’t make it. We had a few pep talks, and got started. I let her pick a sticker to put on my forehead. Whatever it takes! I think me looking extra silly helped her feel better.
The race took place at the Philadelphia Zoo, so it was pretty cool. Although, I didn’t expect all the hills! She would sprint a ways, and then need a walking break. My knees were happy about that.
At one point, I could tell she needed something to take her mind off the cold and how far ahead of us we had to go. I asked her what else she did at her Girls on The Run practices, and this is what she told me:
“We get together for about an hour and 45 minutes twice a week. We don’t just run though. We learn stuff. Like how you shouldn’t judge people by the color of their skin. Friendship, confidence, and self esteem are really important. You have to love yourself. We also learn about healthy eating and exercise. My favorite vegetables are broccoli and kale. My favorite fruits are strawberries and raspberries.”
I mean…wow. I love this organization even more after feeling the positive, empowering, and absolutely encouraging energy the whole morning. There was ZERO negativity. This was not a competition. It was about making sure everyone finished, and everyone made it. Everyone supported each other.
With all the hate going on in the world right now, I really needed this. Here’s to this next generation. I think they’ve really got it figured out.
If you feel like you need to have a bigger purpose, and want to get involved I encourage you to volunteer. Make the world a better place. We can ALL contribute and make a difference. All the small changes can add up to something huge.