Group uses running to teach girls perseverance, confidence, healthy habits
Are you a girl between eight and 13 years old who likes to run? If you are, you should join a group called Girls on the Run or GOTR. I participated in GOTR this year for the first time and had a wonderful time. You might think by the title of our group that we are a group of girls that met to just run, but it is so much more than that.
This fall, we met twice a week for a couple of months. At each meeting, we learned about a topic such as how to stop a bully, how to respond if someone tries to get us to drink and what advertisements are good or bad for us. Then we would play a game that involved what we had learned. Next, we would run for the rest of the meeting.
We didn’t have to run the entire time. We could walk or skip too. We were encouraged to keep going and not to give up. I found that I could run a little bit farther each time we met. At the end of our meetings, we would eat a healthy snack. The snacks were always different and always really yummy.
There are many GOTR groups in Northeast Ohio. On Nov. 11, all the groups met for a 5K run to support and celebrate GOTR. It was such an exciting day. My whole family had registered to run, and I couldn’t wait for the run to start. The run was at Blossom Music Center and that meant we would have to run up and down hills. Running uphill isn’t easy and our group didn’t have much practice at hills since we mostly ran at Avon Lake High School.
When we arrived at Blossom, I found my team and pinned on my run number. All the GOTR participants wear the number 1. Then I got my hair dyed orange and purple, and everyone got to wear a tiara too. I saw some dads even wearing tiaras! When we lined up to start the run, we did a group stretch and cheer. Our cheer was “3.1 so much fun.” The number 3.1 stood for how many miles we were going to run.
Finally, the run began. I started the run with my whole GOTR team, but there were so many people, we couldn’t stick together. My friend, Ava Ransom, her mom, my mom and I got ahead of the crowd. We ran the whole time and only walked through our quick water breaks.
There was such a great crowd cheering all the runners on. My grandma and grandpa were holding up signs that had my name and a couple of my good friends' names on them. At the very end of our run, Ava and I sprinted the last tenth of a mile. When we crossed the finish line, we got our GOTR medals.
After the run, I felt exhilarated and excited. I was so happy that the run went so well for Ava and me. We met up with our moms and joined the crowd to cheer on the rest of our teammates as they finished the run. We also cheered on our brothers, sisters and dads as they were finishing the run.
I am so proud to have been a part of GOTR. I knew that I liked to run but now I absolutely love it. I have learned that it is important to always be myself and I can’t wait to do GOTR again.
I want to thank all of my coaches for leading our team. I had so much fun! Our coaches are the best!
I am a fifth-grader at Bay Middle School