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GOTR Coaches Speak Out: GOTR 5K Recap

May 10, 2010

Today’s Coaches Speak Out series features guest contributor Cathleen Balantic, coach at Parkside Elementary in Atlanta. Have you missed Cathleen’s posts?

The next time you get a chance, take a look at any girl trotting down the street – whether she’s decked out in high-tech gadgets and slick performance gear, or a raggedy cotton t-shirt with cut-offs and tube socks… whether it’s 72 degrees and sunny with a slight breeze on a pancake-flat course, or gloomy with a -8 windchill on a violently hilly route… whether she has seventy years behind her or seventy years ahead of her… whether she’s the first person across the finish line, or the last, or any soul in between. Each girl “on the run” is fighting her own private battle. Everybody out there has a story. Everybody out there has a reason.

GOTR’s tagline is that it’s “…more than a running program.” And it is. But that’s not just because it comes with a curriculum and interesting activities. It’s because, simple as it may be, running is never just running. Sometimes it’s an escape. Sometimes it’s a chore. Maybe it’s a passion. Maybe it’s an obligation. Maybe it’s a habit, a novelty, a challenge, a distraction, or a means to an end.

I wouldn’t presume to know exactly what the May 1st GOTR 5K meant to each of our Parkside girls. What I do know is that they got to experience the unique fusion of electric excitement, giddy camaraderie, and hard-earned elation that seems to characterize road races. Gallons of spray-on hair color were applied, dozens of granola bars were consumed, and more gleeful smiles were flashed than it would have been possible to count.

Our last practice before the 5K – complete with a DJ and tunes. What a pumped-up crew!

 

Our happy (and tired!) crew right after the 5K.

The girls rock their medals during a post-race cheer.

 It was, in short, an outstanding day to cap off an exceptional season of running and learning. And although the Parkside coaches are sorry to see the season draw to a close, we can take comfort in the lift-up one of my running buddies said to the other after their run:

“Hey girl, if you can run a 5K, what can’t you do?” J

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