Saturday, May 13 was the 2017 Girls on the Run for the girls and buddies of the Portland Metro Girls on the Run program. The day was overcast, with a rain shower getting those who arrived early pretty much soaked before the race. Even so, the atmosphere was fun yet relaxed for what was the first ever Girls on the Run 5k to be opened up to community members.
This was my 7th or 8th time as a Running Buddy (I think). This was by far the biggest group of Girls on the Run participants, with organizers expecting more than 1,500 to do the 5k. 800 girls, 800 buddies, and 77 community runners covered the 5 kilometers, starting in waves to accommodate the large number of walkers and runners. By the time of the warm-up, energized by fitness instructors from Diva Den, the rain had pretty much stopped and people were shedding jackets before the race start.
The course started out on grass but quickly moved onto a paved asphalt road. The route was an out and back for the most part, with the finish taking an extra wide approach to the finish line. The route was a sea of pink, this year’s GOTR participant shirt, as girls and their buddies quickly set out on their way to a 5k finish. An energetic aid station offered participants water on the out-and-back section, complete with cheering coaches and parents taking photos.
Unlike previous years, the 5k was the first time Running Buddies got a chance to meet their girl. While I missed the opportunity to get to know my Buddy a little bit ahead of the excitement of the race, it was also fun to be part of her first official 5k. My buddy had so many interesting things to share about her family’s travels, her dance company, and her sisters, that before I knew it we were already at two miles. We did a good mix of running and walking, with my buddy leading the way.
Girls on the Run is a program that continues to provide amazing experiences for girls, and one I plan to continue volunteering for. In just a few short years, I’ll get to be my own daughter’s buddy (if she’ll be mine)! The weekly practices cover more than just running – coaches also help girls learn about general fitness, nutrition, emotional health, and confidence. If you’d like to get more involved, GOTR has a variety of programs throughout the year and many ways to support their mission. Simply click here to get started!