The WAVY/FOX43 team had a blast at the Girls on the Run Spring 5k Saturday (see pic)!
This was my second year as the emcee of the event and I was so impressed by the growth year to year! My history with the organization started by chance. Last year, the emcee had to cancel at the last minute and I was the fill in! I remember the race started behind the MacArthur Center in downtown Norfolk. And though the girls were just as excited, the venue was smaller and indicative of a start up.
Not this year.
GOTR of South Hampton Roads has a new executive director and she brought the event to Town Point Park. The venue was fabulous. Zumba teachers were giving free lessons on the stage, runners and their families got some grub at the Pita Pit food truck, and every school had meeting places denoted by signs in the grass.
I don’t know the official numbers but it seems like there were at least double the participants. I saw Portsmouth Mayor Kenny Wright cross the finish, and I heard Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms also ran the race! That’s right we’re big time now!
I adore this organization because it actually works! All the girls are assigned running buddies to help them complete the course. All of the money goes right back to the girls in the form of scholarships. But more importantly, GOTR gives the kids someone to look up to, someone to talk to and someone to show them incorporating healthy habits into your every day life can be fun.
At the race, our photographer interviewed some of the girls about why they love GOTR. Here is what they said:
“It’s about getting girls up in motion and how to respond to like, bullies and stuff…and the lessons behind it are very important.”
Another girl told our photographer this: “You talk about how to deal with bullies and friends and making the right decision.”
Not to mention some of these girls can really run!
The first female to cross the finish line was Isabella Cooke. Isabella was third overall. Oh, and did I mention she is just nine years old! Isabella ran with her dad and they got a time of 22:30. That’s 7:15 min/mile! After the race, I ran into them and asked her dad if she is into running. His response? “No, but she plays soccer.”
Cross country coaches of Hampton Roads…consider yourself warned!
See the story that aired on the 11pm news! Click here: http://www.wavy.com/dpp/news/local_news/norfolk/hundreds-attend-girls-on-the-run-5k