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. Read how Shannon is going the distance for Girls on the Run SoleMates and how the girls she coaches have shaped her confidence in her own running abilities.
In August of 2009 my coworker at Cresthaven Elementary in Silver Spring, Maryland came to me to see if I would like to be a coach for Girls on the Run. I was NEVER a runner but as a teacher, I thought I could follow the lesson and help out with an already established team. To prepare for the upcoming season, I went out for a run with my best friend. I could not even make it a mile without feeling like I was going to collapse. I had two children and found myself 40 pounds overweight, out of shape, and at only 29 years old, I felt like I was not going to be a good role model to the girls I coach or my own children. At this point, I was not sure why I had signed up to coach.
The Girls on the Run of Montgomery County never turns a girl away from the program if they cannot afford the program fee or do not have running shoes. At my school, I was able to see season after season how the SoleMates money was going straight to the girls I coach, so for me I had to do it! Here it is 2012 and I am about to run my fourth and fifth half marathons as a Girls on the Run SoleMates fundraiser in March and April. I have completed many 5ks, 10ks, 15ks, 10 milers, and half marathons, and without the inspiration of the girls I coach, it would not have been possible.