As a national sponsor of the Girls on the Run SoleMates charity running 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. Girls on the Run coach and dad, Rowland, has gone to great lengths to put some of the program’s lessons into action while fundraising for the cause. Read his story here.
I have been a coach for Girls on the Run in Vermont for 8 years, and the girls at Northfield Elementary School have inspired my own running in many ways. Their perseverance, willingness to push themselves, learn from mistakes, and meet personal goals, all of which I see in every practice, carries over to my own ultra distance running. A 5k run for them is as much a mental and physical challenge as a 100-mile run is for me. At every end-of-year banquet, the girls sign and decorate a shirt that I promise to wear at an ultra event that year. Last Saturday, I ran the Vermont 100-miler in a tank top that they had personalized (I have attached 2 pictures; the one in the dark is me at the finish line). My 3 daughters (ages 12, 11, and 5) and my wife crewed for me; Katherine gave me electrolyte supplements, Grace filled my water bottle, Caroline raced me into the aid stations, and my wife Lisa provided kisses, hugs, and encouraging words. I used the run to raise money for Girls on the Run through SoleMates, which made the event even more meaningful. So, powered by GOTR and family, I finished in 20.5 hours, smiling and full of gratitude for the lessons and the drawings that the girls at Northfield provided.