Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, March 1, 2015
Girls on the run registration opens today
Registration opens this morning, March 1st at 9:00 a.m. for the spring session of Girls on the Run. Most of the readers of this column will not fit the criteria for this running group but their daughters or granddaughters might.
You’ve seen them at some of the road races that you enter – eager girls, sometimes walking, sometimes running but at the end of the 5K they are beaming. No, not beaming because of their fast time, but beaming because they were finishing a 5K – doing something impossible that they had proved to themselves was possible. And that is what Girls on the Run is all about.
Program director Anne Klein was enthusiastic when we spoke this week. The Morris area is growing from when it was featured here in 2013. Klein’s enthusiasm is evident as she talked about how the program has expanded year after year. In Morris there are 18 locations including three in my town of Randolph, and they are being hosted by three of the elementary schools.
“Randolph has been wonderful,” said Klein. “They’re fantastic - the whole town. The teachers are just loving it. They seem to enjoy the program and want to get involved.”
Each council has paid staff but all of the coaches are volunteers who are trained in the curriculum and the mission of the program. The size of each team is from fifteen to twenty girls and that is determined by the number of coaches for each team.
What Klein said might be surprising about a program that sounds like a girls running program. Not so, exactly. There is so much more than running to Girls on the Run according to Klein.
“We have some girls who love running that come to Girls on the Run. We have girls who hate running that come,” she said. “It really doesn’t matter.”
Some of the coaches are runners like Klein, and some who only walk. All are welcome. The coaches follow a nationally written curriculum developed by a social worker. Self esteem comes first said Klein and running is just the means.
“The program is teaching the girls to appreciate the gifts that they have on the inside,” she said. “We teach the girls how to use those gifts to form friendships and to communicate well with others. They learn to do great things within their team and then within their community. The growth and self esteem is the sought for result.”
The running is the tool. The girls learn about goal setting and how good it feels to get your body active, to accomplish that goal of completing a 5K in the end.
“Quite honestly the majority of the girls run and walk it. It’s not about them running an entire 5K distance,” said Klein. “It’s really about putting them in a position that they can have success and accomplish a goal. That means just getting to that finish line. That’s where the self esteem building concept comes in. These girls feel like rock stars when they cross the finish line.”
“As coaches we see these quiet girls, unsure and closed off little girls and they just blossom into butterflies by the end of the season,” she said. “Their confidence grows. They get more comfortable. They start believing in themselves and enjoying their experience with teammates. It’s life changing.”
For more information and to see if your community has a program and to register your daughter go to girlsontherunnj.org.
Men and Women on the Run in Summit
Big girls and boys are being offered an opportunity to be coached starting next Tuesday, March 10th. in Summit. In these training sessions the emphasis is on improving race times and the side effect may be self esteem as well, bringing a little bit of Girls on the Run smiles as the runners hit their personal bests.
Aileen Flanagan of Parsippany posted a note to her Rose City Runners that Coach Dave Hoch is offering a nine week coaching program for runners in this area. Flanagan credits Hoch’s coaching with her personal record in the Charleston SC half marathon in January.
The sessions will last for nine weeks and will be tailored to each runner’s goal race distance and their current fitness level. For more information contact Hoch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you seen the jaw dropping two minute video yet?