Race Preview: Girls on the Run 5k

Hey Runners! Many of you are already familiar with Girls on the Run (GOTR) – a nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to helping girls in grades 3-8 build confidence and celebrate what makes them unique. Twice a year, GOTR puts on a 5k race to celebrate the girls’ completion of the program and also provide a fun event for community members.

We recently sat down with GOTR Milwaukee Executive Director, Tina Jones, to learn more about this week’s race. Here’s what she had to say:

Can you tell us the basics for the upcoming GOTR 5k?

  • Location: Greenfield Park, West Allis (next to Cool Waters)
  • When: Sunday, June 8, race starts at 10 AM
  • Cost: $30 Adults, $25 (14 and under) online; race day increases $5
  • Perks: Goody bag with 5K Performance T-shirt, family fun expo, kids games, face painting, tattoos, kids dash after 5K, yummy warm baked pretzels provided by Auntie Anne’s Pretzel Perfect.

What is the course like?
Scenic course loops through the park and around the lagoon with lots of wonderful wildlife as well as smiling people cheering you on along the way.

What makes this race unique?
This is an inspiring, empowering, all about Girls on the Run event. This celebratory, non-competitive event is the culminating experience of the GOTR curriculum. Completing the 5k gives the girls a tangible understanding of the confidence that comes through accomplishment, as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals. Crossing the finish line is a defining moment when the girls realize that even the seemingly impossible IS possible.

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Why is this race a great one for someone running their first 5k?
This is one of those races that you can run, hop or skip across the finish line. It isn’t about how fast you get to the finish line but about setting your own goals, believing in yourself and motivating others along the way. Last year, one participant said that at the end of the race when she was struggling to get to that finish line, she saw another runner struggling too and she said, “I’m not one of those hand holders, but I grabbed that woman’s hand and we ran across the finish line together! It just felt like the right thing to do!”

Can you tell us a bit about the GOTR organization?
Over a period of 10 weeks, girls in the 3rd through 8th grades participate in an after-school program like no other. Designed to allow every girl to recognize her inner strength, the Girls on the Run curriculum inspires girls to define their lives on their own terms. Throughout the season, the girls make new friends, build their confidence and celebrate all that makes them unique.

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The Girls on the Run lessons encourage positive emotional, social, mental and physical development. Participants explore and discuss their own beliefs around experiences and challenges girls face at this age. They also develop important strategies and skills to help them navigate life experiences. We start with helping the girls get a better understanding of who they are and what’s important to them. Then, we look at the importance of team work and healthy relationships. And, finally, the girls explore how they can positively connect with and shape the world.

Physical activity is woven into our program to inspire an appreciation of fitness and to build habits that lead to a lifetime of health. At the end of each three-month session, the girls participate in a Girls on the Run 5k event.

Because every girl is asked to provide a running buddy, often moms, dads, aunts, uncles and siblings who may never have considered running a 5K, are inspired to do so as well, so it affects many generations.

Why is running a natural fit for helping girls improve their confidence?
Running is the physical activity that we use to inspire girls to become healthier, happier people. By setting a goal and achieving that goal, girls are able to be confident that they can achieve other goals in life if they believe in themselves.

If runners can’t participate in the race, how else can they contribute to GOTR?
Our organization is supported by volunteers and we do lots of fundraising to support our programs. As we provide any girl who wants to participate in this program the means to do so and that takes lots of fundraising efforts. Along with financial aid to our participants, we also provide any girl who needs them, a free pair of running shoes. This all costs money. If you are interested in donating to help support a team of GOTR girls please go to:
http://www.gotr-milwaukee.org/get-involved/donate

Or checks can be made out to Girls on the Run of Greater Milwaukee and mailed to: PO Box 170671, Milwaukee, WI 53217. We are a 501(c)(3) local, non-profit.

Do you have any volunteer needs for the race?
If interested in volunteering, you can go online and sign up today. Job descriptions, timeframe and number of volunteers needed will be listed on website. To ensure the safety of our young participants, all volunteers will be asked to fill out a quick and easy online background check.

Please sign up for Girls on the Run 5K – here’s how it works in 3 easy steps:

1. Click this link to go to our invitation page on VolunteerSpot: http://vols.pt/GckP5c
2. Enter your email address: (You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot)
3. Sign up! Choose your spots – VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy!- Individual job descriptions are listed on VolunteerSpot.

How can people connect with GOTR?
To connect with GOTR of Greater Milwaukee please go to our website at:
http://www.gotr-milwaukee.org/html/

On our site you can register for the 5K, sign up to volunteer as a coach or other volunteer, see a list of our GOTR sites, sign up to be a GOTR Fall 2014 participant, donate and much more!

Anything else we should know about GOTR or the upcoming race?
We currently offer our program in four counties which include Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties. We have over 25 GOTR approved sites and 100s of GOTR-trained volunteer coaches that use a research-based curriculum. We are part of an International GOTR that was started in 1996 by the founder, Molly Barker in Charlotte, NC. Internationally GOTR serves over 140,000 girls with over 55,000 volunteers all working to inspire, empower and change communities.

Thanks for chatting with us, Tina!

MKE, we look forward to seeing you at the GOTR 5k!

Keep Running MKE – you’re doing great!

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