Girls on the Run 5k
This spring, my youngest niece, Emma, joined Girls on the Run for the first time. I’ve done a little volunteering with my local chapter (remember when I met the GOTR founder, Molly Barker?), but this is the first time I’ve actually run one of their 5ks, so I was pumped to get involved from that side of things. Emma is a super athletic kid to begin with, as she’s very active in swimming and soccer, but I was really excited that she wanted to run! I was even more excited for the opportunity to be her running buddy at the end of season 5k! As a running buddy, I was there to run with her, encourage her, and cheer her on for the 5k. My sister, brother-in-law, and nephew were obviously there to watch, but Mom and Grandma came down for the festivities, too!
Before the race started, they had a bunch of activities for the girls, including games, face painting, and hair “dye”. Emma was rocking that pink hair!
The race went through the local zoo, which made for a fun course. It was a bit chilly and drizzling, so most of the animals were hiding out, but we saw a few, including a zebra, peacock, and kangaroo! This zoo has giraffes, which I was really hoping to see, but no luck.
There were almost 700 girls in the program for this season, so between all of them and everyone else who came out to run, it was a packed course! While it was a fun venue, it wasn’t ideal in that there wasn’t a ton of room to maneuver around the slower runners and the walkers. We spent most of the race winding our way around people. I think it would have been a little easier if they had done more of a wave start to lighten the mass of people a bit more.
During their practice 5k last week, Emma said she had walked a lot, but I knew that she could run a good majority of it. We talked at the beginning and I told her about the importance of starting slow and finishing fast, and we used my fall back trick for when I want to walk, of picking a spot up ahead and running to that, then picking a new spot to run to, and so on. There were a couple of times she walked very briefly, but for the most part, she ran the entire time!
5k finishers! I am so stinkin’ proud of this kid – she did amazing! It was such an absolute joy and honor to share this experience with her, and I got a bit (okay, okay, a lot) choked up as we crossed the finish line. I’ve run a few races in my day, but I think this one means more than all of them put together. The first thing she said when she crossed the finish line was that she couldn’t wait to do it again next year. Woohoo, I’ve got a little runner on my hands!
Thanks for letting me run with you, Emma! I love you so much, munchkin!