It was a very special day for me as a coach. I have run many half marathons and marathons, but this one was very special. It was special because I KNOW that these girls will be lifelong runners, and that they will run many more races throughout the course of their lives. However, they will always remember their first half marathon, what it felt like to stand at the starting line with all those people, listening to the music, hearing the encouragement from the crowds and how it felt to run under the arch at Bushnell Park towards the finish line. My gift was that I was fortunate enough to be part of that with them. When they think back on that day, they will always remember who was there with them. Their parents, friends, Coach (Mr. Ywarsky,) came to cheer them on, and me. From my experience, being able to share these experiences with people are what make it all the more special. Thank you so much to the parents and friends who came to cheer us on, it meant so much to us.
The girls had made the decision prior to the race to stay together, and to work together to reach their goal. Jordyn, Leah and Hannah had set their goal for the race to finish in under 2 hours, which is an ambitious time even for experienced runners. We worked really hard together, keeping them on pace, and when I looked at my watch and knew that they were going to achieve their time, I cannot tell you how happy I was for them–it was a bit emotional for me!!
All five team runners did an amazing job!! In the 10-14 age group, Jordyn came in 2nd, Leah 3rd, Hannah 4th, Eden 10th and Sophia 13th. They all finished strong, sprinting to the finish line and were incredibly happy when they received their medals and realized what they had accomplished.
As we were running the race, several older runners were amazed at how young the girls were and how strong they looked. The reason they were so successful was that they love to run, and they were committed to their training all summer and that made all the difference. They believed in themselves and stuck to their training plan and dug deep on the day. I am so proud of them!!!
I hope that these girls, and many of you, will continue to dream big and never be afraid to try something new. It is when we step out of our comfort zone that we grow. :)