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What an Experience: The GOTR 5K from a Coach’s Perspective

November 17, 2009
Running Buddy with a Pink Gazelle

GOTR Running Buddy with a Pink Gazelle.

Stacey Chapman is a GOTR board member and coaches at Hope-Hill Elementary.

Where do I begin? In a crowd of more than 1,100 runners at the New Balance Girls on the Run 5K…I saw a sea of orange t-shirts emblazoned with the words Girls on the Run. Girls and adults bundled up because at 7:30 a.m. it was a mere 40+ degrees. The girls were running around to the Goody hair station and to the Fuze tent to experience it all. They were excited and raring to go, but at the same time they admitted to being scared. I coach for Hill-Hope Elementary and our girls were no exception. Although, we wore pink shirts with our team name of the Pink Gazelle’s on the shirts to distinguish ourselves for our running buddies and the Hill-Hope community – they were so proud to be there and to wear what we have adopted as their GOTR name and color.

And of course, a huge highlight was having founder, Molly Barker there. Our girls were eager to show that Molly had autographed their race numbers. They were thrilled to meet the woman whose GOTR program had already had a huge impact on their lives. The 5K was just the icing on the cake.

As 8:50 a.m. approached – our running buddies, who also sported Pink in the spirit of the Hill-Hope girls – were all set to go. They were each paired with their running buddy or buddies as was the case with some. We were very lucky that Hill-Hope had a lot of community support! As the race got ready to start – jackets were left behind – the temperature rose tremendously – it was a perfect day for a race…and for many a first race! Since I had so many running buddies come out for these girls I was able to run and float between girls to see how they were doing. All looked strong and ran with huge smiles. They shared stories with their running buddies about their experience and how they trained. Their preparation had paid off. I ended up catching up with a fellow GOTR SoleMate who had come out to be a running buddy to Charnesia; they had a great pace going. I continued to stay with them and I must admit it pushed me as well. Charnesia would push herself to go up the hills and we had given her an out if she needed to stop; maybe it was our out, if she rested, we rested, but she didn’t fall for it! She continued on and finished strong. She had a time of 36 minutes. She was very proud of her time as were we. She was the 2nd Hill-Hope Pink Gazelle to cross the finish line.

As we got back to the finish area our girls continued crossing the finish line. We made our way to get their “Finishers” t-shirts and then again visited the Goody hair station to get their hair painted a little more. As we started giving out the medals to the girls, another one of our girls, Daviance, stated, “This is the best day of my life!” I believe this summed it up for many of the girls. This is an experience they won’t soon forget and I am so thankful that I got to share in it.

As the season ends, we are always thrilled when they go back to their school and share their experience with other girls. We will be having our end of year party on Tuesday, November 17, where we will also finalize our community service project. Each girl was told they could have a “plus 1” at the party. This could be friend, a parent, a teacher or anyone they wanted to bring. I heard Charnesia pull her running buddy over and ask her to be her “plus 1” for the party. The running buddies play such a huge role in this day and this is a great demonstration of that.

Until next season….keep on running and inspiring the girls in our community!

Hill-Hope Elementary Pink Gazelles 5K Team Photo

Hill-Hope Elementary Pink Gazelles 5K Team Photo!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Stephanie Golias permalink
    November 18, 2009 10:00 pm

    This was my first year as a Running Buddy and you can count on me for the next group.

  2. November 20, 2009 1:40 pm

    Congratulations to all the Amazing Pink Gazelles!! You all owned the street, so proud!

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