As a national sponsor of the Girls on the Run SoleMates charity runner program, Garmin is partnering with this great organization to further their mission and share the stories of the women and men who are “running for a reason”. Runners can sign up for any event — runs, walks, bike rides or triathlons — and raise funds that will support their chosen council of Girls on the Run. Want your next race to help change lives? Find out more here.
Now take a minute to meet Melissa, who went from admiring runners from the sidelines to running her first 5k and then a 10k. And it all started with the spark of inspiration she gained from her daughter the other girls she coached through Girls on the Run.
I was never a runner. Never thought I could be a runner...yet, I really admired runners. I would talk to runners and be in awe of how something that so was hard for me was not only fun to them, but empowering. If you had told me a year ago that I would be signed up to run a 10k, I would have laughed! That was before Girls on the Run came into my life.Last winter I signed on to coach Girls on the Run in Essex Town. I knew GOTR was "more than a running program" and everyone assured me that I could be a great coach even if I wasn't a runner. As I ran with my girls during practice, I watched them push themselves and grow from girls who walked to girls who ran. I was SO inspired by them!! If these 9-year-old girls could run when it didn't come easy to them... I could too! I found myself enjoying my time running, not only with my girls but alone too. Then came the day of the GOTR 5k race. My 9-year-old daughter's goal was to run the whole thing! It wasn't easy, but together she and I finished our first 5k run, and the high I felt after was like nothing else! I was hooked!
I kept running even after Girls on the Run ended, and in late August, I signed up for my first "big" race, the Tufts Health Plan 10k for Women in Boston. I love that the Tufts 10k for Women shares many beliefs and themes with GOTR. I've been told it's a very empowering race and I love the tag line: Start Strong, Finish Stronger. After signing up, I realized that had I said no to the coaching opportunity through Girls on the Run, I wouldn’t be the runner I am today. That's when I looked into becoming a SoleMates fundraiser and decided to honor my girls by raising money for Girls on the Run Vermont! I love that I'm able to give back to the girls who inspired me to run! Without those girls, without Girls on the Run, I would still be sitting on the sidelines admiring runners from afar. What a sad thing that would be!