Sunday, June 06, 2010

Girls on the Run - Sierras

I rose early this morning to discover that the weather gods had furnished the second day of a perfect weekend. It seems summer, at long last, has finally arrived.

I joined a good portion of the North Lake Tahoe community at Truckee River View Sports Park for the twice-yearly
Girls on the Run 5K. Today I played the role of volunteer rather than runner, and loved every minute of it.

Girls on the Run is an international non-profit running program for girls in 3rd-8th grades designed to promote healthy living. I first became involved with Girls on the Run back in 2008 when our Sierra chapter opened. I volunteered for a season as a “SoleMate,” which is basically a mentor for one of the girls in the program. I partnered up with an adorable 3rd-grader named Lucy. I attended practices where we had discussions, played games and ran. The girls learn to make healthy choices in life, how to pace themselves in a run, and how to believe in themselves and support each other no matter anyone’s abilities. (Check out this essay on fearlessness, written by 3rd-grader Hannah of the Chicago chapter.) They train for a season, and the program culminates in the big 5K race. The SoleMate runs with her girl throughout the entire 5K so no girl is left running alone, and Lucy and I had a blast together. (Is there anything cuter than a 3rd-grader out there going for it?)

This year my schedule didn’t allow me to attend weekly practices, so I couldn’t be a SoleMate, but I volunteered at today’s 5K so I could still be a part of the team. You’ll never guess what I did. I did hair!

Yes, Goody (you know, the company that makes all those hair bands and stuff?) sponsored a “Happy Hair Station.” I spent the morning brushing, braiding and spraying colored glitter. I have to confess, it was totally awesome. My inner-feminist kind of wants to rankle at the assumption that all little girls want their hair done, but I just couldn’t get irritated about it at all. Everyone was too busy having fun, and I sprayed color in the hair of a few boys and moms, too. (I couldn’t convince any dads, but I guess that’s their problem. They don't know how so many ultrarunning men like to paint their toenails.) Next time I do this event, I am absolutely requesting to work at the Happy Hair Station.

The day is definitely more celebration than race. There is also a bouncy castle (of course!) and face painting. The entire group gathers for a warm-up, and the girls, coaches and SoleMates do a hip-hop dance that they all learned in practices while the music thumps through the speakers.

After the race, there are more hairdo's, a picnic, and an excellent raffle.

If I ever get the chance, I’m definitely signing up as a SoleMate again. But until that time, spending the day at the 5K is a great way to be part of the action and support girls as runners. Congratulations to all the girls!


  1. Looks like a lot of fun! I would have totally gone for the hair color. Spray it right on the grey parts. ;-)

  2. What fun! And spray painting wasn't like that in my day I can tell you!

  3. That's pretty cool - my daughter would've been into it. I would've gone for soem hair spray, too...

  4. Scott - That's something I appreciate about you. Yeah, I could see a few pink streaks in your hair. ;)

    Stuart - In your day? What do yo mean? This IS your day!

    Turi - Aww ,you guys are all the cool dads! I'll let you know when the next one is (usually October). The 5K is open to anyone, so you and your daughter could totally come up and run it!