Yesterday I ran the bi-annual Girls on the Run 5K. I ran as a Running Buddy, which means I ran with a group of young GOTR girls. My job was to make sure they made it to the finish line and found their medals and parents post-race. It was truly a great experience and I highly recommend the 5K and the GOTR program. I put together a quick recap of the race for those interested in the next GOTR race. I don’t have many great pics because I went solo, but hopefully I captured enough to give you an idea of what it was like.
About the Race
During the “running season,” I like to sign up for one race a month. I do this to keep myself motivated – also, I just love races. This 5K was extra special because I got to run with the Girls on the Run organization. For those of you who don’t know, GOTR is an after school program that encourages elementary school girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. The girls participate in the program all semester and at the end of the program they celebrate their training with a 5K. The race attracts more than 3,000 runners from the area and vendors like TCBY, Goody, Planet Smoothie, Vitamin Water, Secret and Trader Joes. It’s really like a mini festival with a 5K instead of a parade.
This pic is post-race and at the TCBY vendor. Notice their hair products/coloring from the Happy Hair station.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived was how much SMALLER elementary school kids are than I thought. I mean, did you think you were this small when you were in 3rd grade?
Anyway, every elementary school from the area was represented. Right before the race, the kids sat (arranged by team) on a big field and everyone stretched and danced together. These little girls were so excited that they were running around like crazy, dancing with each other and playing new versions of “Mrs. Susie had a turtle, his name was Tiny Tim. She put him in the bath tub to see if he could swim…” (you know what I’m talking about). I honestly thought the girls would collapse before the race even started, but they didn’t.
A lot of the girls had their dads as their running buddy. You could tell the dads were big runners and that’s why their daughters were in the program. It was adorable. Some of the dads even let the girls spray paint their hair.
The race went really well and the girls were a lot faster than I expected. My little group of girls crossed the finish line when the race clock was at 32:01. I don’t know exactly what our pace was because the race didn’t have timing chips. I think that it was a little lame that they didn’t time the girls. I thought it was even more lame that there was no winner…obviously someone won the race, they just didn’t declare a winner. They even gave all of the girls the same bib number…number 1. (Ironically I was like number 3175 or something)
Anyway, the crowd was great and they had people lined up all over the course cheering, which helped the little ones a lot. We ran over bridges and through tunnels. Very cool distractions.
I just want to mention one other thing about the race. I noticed that little kids run so much freer than adults. It’s really interesting to watch. Also, they are terrible pacers.
My favorite part! After the race, I had to change in my car in order to make it to a film festival down the road. BUT, because my team finished so much quicker than I had expected, I had time to enjoy the festival…and eat a bunch of free oranges and Luna Bars.
If I had a daughter, she would be in this program. There is another GOTR 5K in December. I’ll be there and I hope you are too!