It has been a very long time since I last posted a blog entry…for more than six years, I have posted on average once a week, but I fell off the wagon at the beginning of March and as each week passed, it became harder and harder to get back on. So I decided to break my writer’s bloc with an old favorite: Girls on the Run.
Twice a year for the last four years, the school has sponsored 2 or more Girls on the Run groups under the continuing leadership of Elissa Stieglitz and my wife Lisi and including about a dozen different volunteer assistant coaches over the years. Each group consists of 15 girls in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades and, altogether, has involved about half of all of the MJBHA girls in those grades during that time. The program helps train the girls to make good social, emotional and physical choices, to handle adversity, to cooperate and support each other, and, of course, to run. Each season culminates in a 5 kilometer race (or “run”, since there is no official timing for the event.)
Yesterday, in a slight drizzle and overcast skies, 3000 participants from all over Montgomery County came together to brighten the day and celebrate another successful Girls on the Run season. Clad similarly in pink Girls on the Run shirts, the girls took to the streets to show that 5 kilometers was no match for these determined young ladies. It was joyous, fun and triumphant as each one of the girls crossed the finish line with their running buddies—dads, moms, older sisters, and in one case, even a younger brother.
In past years, I played the role of official photographer while my daughter ran with another running buddy. This year, it was my turn to participate as Yonina and I took off together and set an excellent, steady pace throughout the race. She’s a veteran now (this is her fourth GOTR race) so she helped lead me through the pack and across the finish line and I got to experience the girls’ excitement up close.
In a world and a society in which there is so much that is inappropriate or cynical, this gathering had the feeling of unadulterated wholesomeness. The smiles were genuine, the feelings of pride well-earned, the excitement palpable, and the camaraderie very real.