|Pre-run butterfly stretch.|
On Saturday, I ran with a participant in the Girls on the Run Program during their celebratory, non-competitive 5K. According to their website, Girls on the Run “encourages positive emotional, social, mental and physical development. Participants explore and discuss their own beliefs around experiences and challenges girls face at this age. Designed to allow every girl to recognize her inner strength, the Girls on the Run curriculum inspires girls to define their lives on their own terms.”
|Mehar & me|
Before the run, the girls were full of energy running around in pink capes and race numbers that were all “#1.” My running buddy was Mehar, a sweet and spirited soon-to-be 6th grader who, in addition to running, plays the piano and dances hip-hop. She really impressed me with her mature attitude and bold goals of one day running the Boston Marathon. Most of the girls around us would alternate walking and sprinting, but my buddy was smooth and steady for the entire 3 mile run. Even when she felt like walking, she kept on going. As we ran we cheered on the other girls ahead of us and behind us, we received high fives and encouragement in return. Mehar told me that she could never imagine running in long braids and a pink cape if not for the confidence and self-esteem that this program instilled in her.
|Coming into the finish|
My brief experience with Girls on the Run really touched me and inspired me to be a part of it next season. This is yet another example of the power of running. Go, Mehar!
*Tad Davis photos