A few months ago I read about an organization called Girls On The Run and fell in love. Taken straight from their site, “Girls on the Run is a life-changing, experiential learning program for girls age eight to thirteen years old. The programs combine training for a 3.1 mile running event with self-esteem enhancing, uplifting workouts. The goals of the programs are to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development.”
They have two core programs:
- Girls on the Run — for 3rd-5th graders
- Girls on Track — for 6th-8th graders
The psychological research and principal philosophy behind both programs is the same, yet the depth of processing varies in order to be age appropriate. The Girls on Track middle school curriculum allows for more mature processing around certain topics including eating disorders, internet safety, cyber bullying and tobacco and alcohol use.
Here is a beautiful three minute video about Girls on The Run
As I read about the organization for the first time I felt as though I had found a part of myself that I hadn’t realized was missing. I felt like, here is where I fit. Training for my first half marathon affected me so deeply that there were so many times when I wondered how different my feelings of self worth and body image could have been had I been able to embrace running as a young girl.
Learning to run has helped me feel a confidence and strength in my body that feels so foreign, I continue to negate and disallow it at every turn. Even still, because I have experienced many new glimpses of self confidence over the past year, I now realize that it can become a habit in the same way that negative self talk has. The more you do something, the easier it becomes. We aren’t born hating our bodies, it is learned and practiced throughout our lifetime. This is my opportunity to help young girls in my community grow up believing that they are strong, healthy and beautiful exactly as they are….as I continue to learn that myself.
Sunday is the Girls on The Run Spring 5k and 10k. I am in charge of the 10k water station and the newest Committee Member for our chapter. It is no coincidence that I am also in my third week of training for this year’s Women’s Only Half Marathon in St Petersburg, Florida. I believe that learning experiences come into your life in the correct time and space, when we need them most. This is definitely one of those times. I am looking forward to sharing it with you. If you would like to get involved with a Girls on the Run chapter near you, click here for locations.
Have a delicious weekend.
Images and info from the GoTR site.