Growing up, my mom was constantly running with her friends, but I never did any of them with her before Girls on the Run. My mom would always say, “Olivia, why don’t you run with me sometime?” At the time, I wasn’t sure if running was for me, but one day things changed. On my way to the exit at River Roll Skating Rink, my best friend Kendra and I saw a table near the exit. It was a sign up for Girls on the Run. Immediately I became interested in running because not only could I learn how to train in a fun way, but I would also be with Kendra. I started Girls on the Run when I was about nine and in third grade, and yet to this day, I still run as a 15-year-old.
I loved doing Girls on the Run because I was able to meet new people and I learned valuable lessons. I remember one lesson where all of the girls except one got into a circle surrounding the one girl. Each of us put our hands slightly out in front of us and the girl in the middle would be very stiff and straight. She would then purposefully loose her balance and rock to the sides, but instead of falling we would support her and make sure she didn’t fall. This was a trust exercise that really helped me gain trust with my fellow teammates. I remember when it was my turn to be in middle and I was really nervous, but the girls made sure to support me the whole time. Those lessons taught me important values that I still use today years later.
One event my team did was the Hula Run just for fun. In that race some of us wore hula skirts, and there were even a few guys who wore coconut bras. Also, one of the women at the run worked at a local news station, so Kendra and I were on the news the next day. It was really cool to be able to say I was on the news. Besides runs, practices were also fun. For example, one time, we got a piece of string and every time we completed a lap a coach would give us a bead. All of the beads on the string made our very own bracelet. There was always something fun about practice each day.
Besides lessons and fun races, Girls of the Run brought me many new friendships. For example, a girl I am now very good friends was on the same team as me during one season. It’s cool to be able to say that from even that many years ago, I am still good friends with her, and it all started with Girls on the Run.