Here's to Katie, Lauren, Kayla, Abbey, Emily, Amy, Riley, Sophia, Cindy, Tonya, Barbara, Samantha, Ava, Susie, Molly and thousands more.
This months Athlete of The Month, is every single girl, parent, volunteer, teacher, mentor, mom, dad, aunt, cousin and friend who participated in The Girls On The Run 5K- Chicago. It was the largest Girls On The Run event in the world ( a moment to say how lame our local media was for not being there, not a single camera crew. More on this later).
Girls On The Run was started by Molly Barker in North Carolina and has spread globally. It's a nonprofit prevention program that encourages preteen girls to develop self respect and healthy life style through running. They have coaches, trainers and mentors who work with girls to train and work towards running in 5K races around the country. It builds confidence, self esteem, team building and a countless list of other positive attributes.
There weren't a lot of Garmins, HR monitors or sports watches in Montrose Harbor on Saturday (June 5th), but there were tiara's pig tails, boas, face paint, a bhirka and enough positive energy to light up the city.
The runners were tall, short, skinny, heavy, young old and from every possible nationality. Time didn't matter as much as being together to celebrate themselves and how special and amazing each and every girl is. Messages of positive body image and believing in themselves and their potential, replaced the usual pre-race chit chat of goals or qualifying for this or that. They were all there to support Girls on The Run and show that you can do anything if you believe in yourself.
It's a simple message, something we all learn, but somehow along the way some of us seem to forget. If you need a reminder, then I recommend spending the morning with a few thousand amped up little girls and the adults who make Girls On The Run possible and you will be re-energized.
They ran, jogged, walked, danced, skipped, strolled, talked, sang, giggled and generally had a good time as the sea of over 6000 runners made their way through the 5K course.
Parents, coaches, siblings, friends and grandparents yelled words of encouragement, "Go Sally! I Love You Emily! You're the best Kaitlin! You can do it Marcella!"
It didn't matter if they were running full speed or walking along, every face glowed with the words of encouragement that the fans yelled and their coaches worked months to instill the pride in each and every Girl On The Run.
As they crossed the finish line, there were hugs, cheers, tears of joy and a lot of happy faces. Every girl wore race #1 and every one got a finisher medal with the following inscribe on the back. "I have the power to believe in myself. To stand up for who I am. To say "yes"to a challenge. To cheer on new friends. To grow up strong."
Click here to find out how you can get involved in Girls On The run, or to find a team or event near you.
After the race, Chicago area organizer Betsy Armstrong was walking past a group of excited little girls, one of them exclaimed, "I feel like a million dollars!" Betsy looked at her and said with a smile, " You are worth much more than that honey, never forget it."
For everything that Girls On The Run does to promote a positive environment for young women and helping to promote a healthy positive lifestyle, you are all our Athletes Of The Month and we couldn't be more proud.
Check out our picture gallery below, from the very beginning to the very end, we tried to capture as much as the energy and fun as possible.
Now For My Rant-
I know that we are in a recession and working in weekend news, reporters and camera crews are stretched to the limit and that goes double for the morning crews. However, the fact that this was the largest Girls On The Run event in the entire world and none of the local TV stations showed up is an embarrassment to the city and yet another reason we will never host an Olympics, our priorities are completely out of whack.
If we spent less time doing stories on wonder diets, tummy shaping
thongs and the next new plastic surgery and more stories on things like Girls On
The Run, maybe we wouldn't have to worry about wonder diets, tummy
shaping thongs and the next new plastic surgery. NBC 5 had a brief
snippet of GOTR on their Friday AM Dance Party, Amy Freeze- Fox News
and John Garcia- ABC 7 stand out at the shining exceptions in an
otherwise embarrassing bunch. They sacrificed their own time to show
their support, despite the fact that their stations were too lame to
As an FYI, here's a list of the local news directors, their direct numbers and
e-mails. There were 3000 girls and double the amount of parents etc.
I'm pretty sure they would love to hear from you.
WGN Greg Caputo, firstname.lastname@example.org
WLS (ABC7) Jennifer Graves email@example.com
WMAQ (NBC5) Frank Whittaker, firstname.lastname@example.org
WFLD (fox) Carol Fowler 312-565-5510
WBBM TV (CBS2) Jeff Kiernan, 312-899-2441