Tuesday, May 28, 2013

2013 Girls on the Run Spring 5k

The Girls on the Run of Puget Sound Spring 5k was on May 18 and this 5k was my 3rd 5k with them as the course lead. 

ABOUT: Girls on the Run of Puget Sound reached about 500 girls during their Spring season this year.  Each elementary school girl goes to an after school program at her school two days a week.  Along with getting to know other girls they learn valuable lessons in self esteem and how to honor themselves and find their greatest strengths.  Another valuable part of the curriculum is physical activity! They practice running and their graduation is the 5k event put on just for them!

I really had NO idea how much work goes into setting up a 5k and this one begins with various committee meetings in the few months leading up to the race and then a very early race morning. 

Seward Park BEFORE!
I set out when we arrived to mark the course so the cheerleaders for each mile knew where to go during the race. We keep it pretty simple with some cones with arrows tapped to them and lots of sidewalk chalk (thank goodness it didn't rain!) Once I got back it was straight to course setup and thanks to some awesome volunteers we marked the course and set up the water station in record time.  Then the fun part...setting up the finish line!

Meanwhile, the festival area is coming together, vendors are starting to arrive and volunteers keep coming in.

festival area taking shape!
SIDENOTE: Volunteers are literally the backbone of this organization. There are only a very small handful of paid employees and volunteers basically run the 5k, the annual auction, are running buddies, and coaches at each school. There are TONS of ways you can get involved in Girls on the Run!  

All the girls arrive, get situated with their shirts, race bibs, colorful hair, costumes, etc and warm up before heading over to the start line.  I organize all the course volunteers and send everyone on their way to post up along the course.  The girls get a little "prize" at each mile so when they cross the finish line they are decorated with things like necklaces, bracelets and stickers...it's fun!  

No matter how busy I am I make it a point to head to the start to watch the girls take off, it is so fun to see how excited they are.  Plus this year I was handed the air horn and man I took advantage of that...I blew every last sound out of that thing!

Once the race got going we moved the balloon arch from the start to the finish and waited for the first girls to run through. The finish line chute is LINED with parents and coaches cheering for every single girl, it is truly heartwarming and inspirational to watch. After the race the festival got busy! Girls stuck around to celebrate their amazing accomplishment, check out vendor booths and of course...DANCE!

The festival in full swing!
Duh, of course Nuun is there :)
Dance party on the stage, cutest thing I've ever seen!
After the party ends everything must come down.  Thanks to the help of volunteers again the festival and course were cleaned up in record time and just like that we left the park empty again.  I got home a little after 1PM and crashed HARD.
Pictures and words truly do not do this event justice and I hope every one of my readers will find some way to get involved with this awesome organization!  I'm hoping to put together a big group of people to be running buddies for the fall 5k so stay tuned for how to get involved, I can promise you it will be an experience of a lifetime.

Question: Who is going to be a running buddy at the fall 5k? Save the date for December  7!

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