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. Today's story comes from Coach Caitlin, who found lots of little reasons to step up and be a SoleMates fundraiser. She gained her inspiration while coaching Girls on the Run at the AIM Academy in Washington, D.C.
Tonia, Daja, Taelor, Jada, Bernice, Brandy, Tierra, Sache’t, Khalah, Brianna, Barbara, Taja’e, Morgan, Shantel, Chastity, Diamondnia, Daija, Tierra, Brittany, Simone, Carmen, DeAsia, LaDayza, Leif, Zionna, Domonique, Timeka, Shavonnia, Talia, Nykirah, Jena, Ivy, Destinee, Cortney, Shaniah, Javone…Thirty-six girls who laughed at first when I told them about Girls on the Run. Thirty-six girls who have never seen someone running recreationally in their life. Thirty-six girls who don’t have access to a safe running area on a regular basis. Thirty-six girls who started the season walking and complaining but ended sprinting to the finish line with the biggest grin on their faces. Thirty-six girls who all received a scholarship to do Girls on the Run. Last year I brought Girls on the Run to AIM Academy. When I realized that all of our girls were receiving a scholarship to participate, I knew that I had to pay it forward in some aspect.Health and fitness has always been something that is important to me. This past year, I found myself inside the girl box — comparing myself to anyone and everyone and putting myself down for everything I wasn’t doing — being the definition of the yucky cord. Leading lessons at school, I knew I could not stand up and authentically teach the lessons to my girls knowing that I was battling the same issues. Signing up for SoleMates has reignited the fire inside of me to be the best me. The SoleMates experience has been my comeback. Armed with a healed mindset, a competitive spirit, and a healthy body, I am excited to be a REAL role model for my girls.
I have seen the impact of Girls on the Run at our school. It has turned into a saving grace and an important part of our school’s community. Our girls gain a new healthy perspective in both running and life and always reference the lessons they have learned. Despite that, without SoleMates and other generous donations, our team and these experiences would not exist. That very thought gets me up at five in the morning three times a week to train for my race.
Girls on the Run at AIM would not exist without my fellow SoleMates. We would miss out on opening the eyes, hearts and lungs of 36 at-risk middle school girls. Girls on the Run is so much more than just a running program for our girls. It has become so much more than just a running program for me. Girls on the Run and SoleMates brought my sparkly cord back, but more importantly, 36 girls discovered their sparkly cord AND began their running career.