This morning I rolled outta bed at the ungodly hour of 4:50am, ate a quick breakfast, and jumped in my car by 5:20. On a Saturday. Why, you ask? To volunteer at the Girls on the Run Chicago Fall 5K, duh!!! I decided that volunteering at the race was a good first step to getting to know more about GOTR and starting it at my school in the future. While I was bummed that I couldn't run in the race (I learned that it's not a closed event--anyone can register and run) because of my NEVER ENDING injury nonsense, my experience volunteering was fantastic. Here's the recap...
Rolled into the parking lot of Toyota Park, home of the Chicago Fire at 6:20am, just in time to see a GORGEOUS pink sunrise! I immediately got to work at the Coaches Only Tent, helping organize goody bags, water bottles, and bags of tiaras. (<--sigh. Why was this program not around when I was 9???) Soon after, coaches began trickling in and we got them set up with packs of bib numbers and tiaras for their girls. It was pretty busy up until the start of the race, but I had plenty of time to get excited as bus loads of girls started arriving, decked out in GOTR t-shirts, running tights, and HUGE excited smiles. It was pretty freaking cute.
The race itself started around 9. Here is a list of some of my favorite things about this race: tween pop music playing the entire time, all of the girls sporting a #1 on their race bibs, NO chip timing/race clock (because for the girls, it's just about the fun of the run, NOT winning/losing), seeing the girls run with their "running buddy" (an adult, usually a parent, who signs up to run the whole race with their girl), the huge smiles of the girls, running in tiaras, and oh so many more things.
Since our tent was involved in pre- and post-race activities, we got to stand and cheer on the runners for pretty much the entire race. Let me tell you, there is nothing like seeing a 10 year old girl ready to pass out at mile 3 (Seriously, when I was 10, i could barely make it through the Mile in PE...), giving her a huge cheer, and seeing her smile and start running again. Also, there is pretty much nothing like seeing dads running holding hands with their daughters. Obviously, I had a few tears...shocking, right? ;)
It was a great experience to be a part of, and I left with a single thought on my mind: I NEED to start this at my school!!!!!