Because It’s More Than Running…

Why is Girls on the Run important?

It may not seem like much, training young girls to run a 5k. But it is so much more than running.

It really kind of hit me yesterday. I spent the morning at a picnic celebrating a trail running series I participated in. I don’t know how many people were there and I don’t know all of them by name. But I am connected to each of them in a special way. We’ve shared the most amazing experiences over the years. And here is what is truly beautiful about this.

As I watched these women that I’d run these long, hard miles with step up to the podium to accept their age group awards, I was awed by the beauty. The pure, natural, powerful beauty. Women with babies on their hips and medals around their necks. Women in running shorts and women in dresses. Women smiling  and cheering unabashedly for one another. No worries about makeup, wrinkles, or numbers on a scale. No resentful comparisons or ugly jealousies.

You don’t get to feel insecure among this group. We won’t allow it. In a world where women so often criticize themselves and one another, there is this micro-community where we run the criticism out of you. Because by running you are building a strength and beauty that the world can’t touch.

And it’s not just the women that are impacted. This group of men that run with us, they are the men we hope our sons grow up to be. They are the men around which we don’t feel self-conscious or embarrassed about our appearance. We do not have to apologize for how we look, because they know what true beauty is. They are the men that recognize the value that comes from our strength and intelligence and abilities. They are the men we run with.

So that’s the value I see in Girls on the Run. We are training our most vulnerable population to find strength and beauty inside themselves and each other. We are training them for what they should expect from the people they allow into their lives. And that is something they can carry with them as they grow and make this world a stronger, more beautiful place.

Please take a moment to click here and support Girls on the Run so we can help more girls learn these important lessons.

(Photos by Ron Bell)

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