Donate your time to help give
girls a brighter future.
By Jana Dolan
Every Wisconsin runner knows that a morning race in mid-November comes with the potential for cold, rain, snow or ice. But winter felt far away last Sunday during our Fall 5K! Mother Nature provided a fall day perfect for showcasing the hard work of the Girls on the Run of Greater Milwaukee participants.
Before and after my shift volunteering as a course sentry, (Side note: if you’re looking for a volunteer role next time, I highly recommend it. Where else can you cheer at the top of your lungs, give out high fives, and wave a flag while rocking a pink vest?!) I talked with a few girls about the 5K. The energy was contagious, and so I’ll let them spread the word about what it feels like to train for the event, their emotions after the race, and what they learned from Girls on the Run.
Shatyron, with the Northside YMCA site, said she was feeling “nervous, but happy,” before the race. “I’ve learned that training has prepared me for good things, and my teammates can be really fun.”
Her teammate, Shontyla, said she too was “nervous” before the race, but “I’ll keep thinking ‘you can do it,’ and at the end, I’ll be happy I kept moving!”
Carley, with the Edgewood – Oak Creek site, said she was going to put all of her practice and training (including running in the rain during a couple of practices) to good use. Through Girls on the Run, she’s learned “to be kind to others,” adding that GOTR is “awesome and so much fun. Plus, it gets you moving!”
After the race, in the midst of glitter hair-spraying celebrations, I found Ceili, Imani and Meghan from McKinley. “Today was really fun and I got my energy out!” said Ceili. “I liked running down the hills … but I really didn’t like the uphills.”
Her teammate Imani thought just the opposite, liking the challenge of the hills. But her favorite part? “I thought it was really fun because I got to run with my BFFs,” Imani said. “It felt good and I want to do it next year.”
Meghan chimed in that the race was really fun and it even “felt shorter than I thought it would be!”
Imani said that GOTR taught her to “always keep moving, even if you walk!” and said she felt happy and proud afterward. Meghan said GOTR “makes you feel confident” and Ceili said other girls should do GOTR because it “makes you stronger and healthy!”
Coaches and volunteers make the day possible
The Longfellow team was bursting with energy, so I had to stop by. I spoke with first time coach, Evadelia Aldape, who was celebrating a great run with her team. “This is my first time being a coach,” she said. “Girls on the Run is empowering for the girls because they need positive role models.”
Like many of the participants, she wasn’t quite sure what to expect race day. After an early start to the morning, she said any tiredness was wiped clean when she arrived. “Once I saw the girls’ faces that was my caffeine – they were pumped up!”
The energy was palpable everywhere. “I’m really impressed so many people came, and it wasn’t just schools cheering on their own teams – everybody was cheering for everyone!” said Evadelia.
She left me with their motto: “¡Si se puede!” Yes you can!
I ended the morning at the finish line, right after the kids’ race, where I found Kate, Sammi and Ali, who had just finished their volunteer duties. Why did they get involved? “I’m really into running and I thought it would be cool to help out,” said Kate. “It was really neat to see the girls push themselves, and it’s a great lesson to keep active!”
As the sun shone even higher in the sky, girls were left celebrating with their loved ones and friends, clutching their medals and feeling a sense of pride. Way to go, girls, and thank you to everyone who helped make this year’s fall 5K possible: Our amazing GOTR girls, coaches, their families and friends, the GOTR team and the many volunteers. Keep moving forward!