On November 26th, our girls had the opportunity to “stuff the bus” with food donations for our local food pantries in Sussex County. Senator Cory Booker made a special guest appearance and was excited to meet with our girls. Thank you to Leslie Huhn and Jamie Lombardi for assisting with the event! Our girls were super excited and loved being able to help our community!
Here is Julia’s poem dedicated to GOTR!
Also, please check out Aunt Laura’s letter!
I’ve been a runner most of my life, but 7 years ago I learned how to run a race.
Through racing, I’ve had amazing experiences and have learned that if I set my mind to something and believe in myself, I can accomplish a lot of great things. The Girls on the Run teaches thousands of girls and their families just that and they gave me the opportunity to have a running experience I will always be thankful for and will hold in my heart never to be forgotten.
A couple of months ago my 9 year old niece Julia approached me and asked me to be her running buddy for the Girls on the Run. A running buddy is the person each member picks too practice with, to share what they are learning at their meetings and is the person who runs with them at the 5k event at the end of each season. Caught up in the moment, I thought, wow, can it get any better than this?! To be able to share something I love so much with someone I love. Then my heart sank as it quickly hit me that I had a freshly diagnosed fracture in my foot and was struggling to walk no less run. I had to tell her I was not able to be her “running buddy”. She looked so disappointed and as I walked away tears filled my eyes. Little did she know I was more disappointed than she was. Soon after that, a good friend of mine happily accepted to be her partner.
8 weeks later her big 5k day was quickly approaching, so I decided to go out and see if my foot could handle a jog and I ran a couple of miles. I quickly set a date with Julia to do a practice run that Thursday. We headed out to the track, did some stretches and off we went. With my Garmin watch tracking us, I learned her pace; after all, a runner always needs to be prepared for a race. Call me over board, but that’s not the case. I wanted her to love this event and 5k after 5k I watch people take off too fast, fizz out, throw up or outright stop, and never return to another run. We did 2 miles and talked the whole way. I told her what I tell all my running teammates before a big race: run your own pace, don’t worry about who passes you or who you pass, your only competing with yourself to do your best; don’t try to run someone else’s race.
“Are you nervous” I asked “No” she confidently responded and we headed out for dinner to carbo load. I texted her mom, “she is a natural”, then texted my friend (her running buddy) “do you mind if I run the GOTR with you on Saturday.”
The big day came and I knew I needed to be there. I registered as “Aunt Laura”.
The runners started to gather at the starting line, almost 400 of them. There was pink hair everywhere and a lot of smiles. This was big day for a lot of people, not only the girls but the parents, siblings, grandparents, you name it, all the faces were full of pride and excitement. I grabbed Julia’s hand and took her closer to the start. I reminded her that we needed to stick with a plan: the trick to running a good race is to run a pace you are comfortable with; we are not going to walk at any point but if you start to feel tired we will just slow down; You are going to see a lot of people take off really fast but we are not going to do that; don’t worry if it feels like we are way in the back because we won’t be by lap 2, that’s when we will slowly start to pass people and even more of them in the final lap with only slightly picking up our pace. Most important is to have fun and too feel proud when you come through that finish line.
The gun went off and I started the Garmin. She smiled. I could see her taking it all in as we glided through the first lap. Lap 2: still smiling. I quickly had her remove her gloves and outer layer long sleeved shirt. (wearing to much clothing, something else a lot of people do and another thing I teach my newer teammates- stay cool) we started to pass a large amount of people who were bright red in the face, some starting to walk or looking like they might get sick… we kept going, picking up the pace ever so slightly. Still smiling, we approached the final lap. I helped her remove 2 more layers of shirts. “Now you will feel like you can breathe and you are going to rock”. She looked relieved and she sprang into a 20 second faster pace. My friend Julia yelled out “you’ve got this Julia” and the 3 of us laughed. We started counting the people as we passed them… exactly as planned. I wondered what the other participants were thinking…. we were having so much fun! It was great to see all the girls with their moms, dads and family members out there on the course. Then a happy thought hit me just before mile 3, GOTR offers so much more than just girls going for a run. Look at these families out here together, sharing something positive, bonding, and smiling. This is as good for the families as it is for the girls. Getting in better shape and sharing quality time…. What a great day and what a great organization. (GOTR)
At .2 miles to go, we both cheered “go for it Julia, give it everything you’ve got,” and there was the finish line. 30:55. She did it! Her first 5k and she was still smiling!! Filled with emotion we all felt so proud. I know it’s a day in my life I will never forget. Everyone needs a running buddy, to mentor or to be mentored. 7 years ago my best friend ran my first 5k with me, a race I didn’t want to do because I was scared. Little did we know I would win a lot of races after that day, I’d run the NYC marathon and I’d be heading to Boston in 2014 as a time qualified runner… still smiling and still proud every time I come through the finish line.
I hope Julia remembers her first 5k the heart filled way I remember mine….with a smile on her face.
The Girls on the run does a lot more for girls then just teaching them to run. It builds confidence, it teaches them how to live healthy and to be strong physically and mentally. It builds friendships and brings families closer.
Thank you Julia (Lengen) and to the Girls on the Run for giving me this special memory.
The Secret essay contest kicks off this week! This year, Secret wants to know “How does Girls on the Run give you confidence to pursue your dreams?” Participants from the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 seasons are eligible to enter. Secret will award $500 to five girls and $3,500 to the corresponding five councils. Winners will be selected from two grade categories: 3rd – 5th grade (4 winners) and 6th – 8th grade (1 winner).
- Girls can either mail the form directly, or you can collect the forms from the girls and send them in one envelope, to the mailing address listed on the official entry form.
- Entries must be received by May 5, 2014 on an Official Entry Form or plain piece of 8-1/2” x 11” paper.
- If blank paper is used, please make sure the girl lists all of the information required on the official entry form (name, council, grade etc.) and that these are signed and dated by their legal guardian.
- All entries must be signed by a parent or legal guardian or they will not be accepted.
- Essays must be 300 words or fewer and handwritten. Typed entries will not be judged unless a documented disability exists which prohibits writing by hand.
- Essays will be judged on the following criteria:
- 1.Originality & Creativity (40%)
- 2.Inspirational Value of Essay (25%)
- Appropriateness of Essay to Theme (35%)
Parent’s did your daughters love Girls on the Run? Consider asking your daughter to fill out a Coach of the Year nomination! Both your coach and your daughter will win a prize!
Registration is now open for our fall 5k on 11/16. All the details for registration can be found on the 5k tab at the top. Girls in the program DO NOT need to register. All running buddies and family members do need to register. Preferential tshirt sizes will be available until 10/23 so please register now!
Our Reverend Brown site will be closed on Friday 10/11 and Monday 10/14
If your school is closed on Monday 10/14, GOTR is cancelled
Our GOTR Gear sale has been extended to 10/10. All of the information can be found under Shop at the top. We will not be selling GOTR Gear in the spring so please get your orders in now!
Just a reminder
9/23 Girls on the Run at Helen Morgan is cancelled due to Back to School Night
9/25 Girls on Track at Sparta Middle School is cancelled due to 6th grader’s field trip