Warning: This blog post is not just for girls! Even if you are a male runner, be sure to read all the way to the bottom.
Molly Barker was 15 years old and already tired of pretending to be someone she was not. She was conflicted. She desperately wanted to fit in with the popular girls at school but had a hard time accepting the social expectations placed upon her as a woman. Why should her appearance be more important than who she was inside? Why should she be quiet and submissive? Why should she be expected to look a certain way and be a specific size in order to have a boyfriend?
Feeling trapped and alone, Molly found refuge in running. She writes, “So I ran. I’d put on my running shoes and head for the woods, the streets, wherever my feet would take me. I felt strong. Beautiful. Powerful.”
Seventeen years later, during a run, Molly experienced a personal awakening. Finally free from the chains of societal expectations, she wanted to help girls struggling with personal confidence, body image, and self-esteem. She created Girls on the Run.
Imagine a running program that encourages girls to, “uncover their extraordinary potential, demonstrate courage, and generally embrace being ‘fantabulous.’” A program that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. Imagine a program that could very well change the course of their lives.
This is the mission of Girls on the Run. Their vision? “A world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.”
Today, Girls on the Run is offered in over 200 cities across North America and hundreds of thousands of girls and women’s lives have been impacted by the program. Girls on the Run is doing their part to create a world where all girls feel empowered and are comfortable “simply being themselves.”
We first learned about Girls on the Run from Kara (Goucher) who was excited to find a program that used running as a positive influence in young girls’ lives. Kara knew she wanted to be involved, and we found her energy contagious. Earlier this month, Adam and Kara attended the Starlight Run in Portland where Kara ran a 5K with her new running buddy Olivia. The energy of the event made it easy to see why Girls on the Run of Portland Metro has blossomed to serve schools throughout Multnomah County inspiring over 300 girls to “learn. dream. live. run.”
This week (June 21 – 28) we will be donating $2.00 to Girls on the Run of Portland Metro for every copy of our book “Running the Edge” purchased from our website. Along with the book, you will receive a FREE Gone Running Sign and a signed Kara Goucher autograph card!
Already have the book? No Problem! Buy it for a friend, then keep the card and sign for yourself! You can also make direct donations and contributions to Girls on the Run of Portland Metro at this address.
“There is no other program like GOTR in that we address the WHOLE girl. The goal is to impart healthy behavior- not only by inspiring girls to add running into their lives, but also in their relationships with their peers and the greater community. This inspiration flows out to all of our volunteers who come into contact with the program- coaches, running buddies, and board members… it’s a powerful and positive force.” - Nancy Fleck - Executive Director Portland Metro
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