Those are the two words I would choose to describe my day yesterday. Yesterday was the 5K run / walk to celebrate the end of the fall season for our local chapter of Girls on the Run. As luck would have it, I was the Race Director for the event.
For those who aren’t familiar with the organization, it’s a nation-wide not-for-profit with local councils that are started by interested communities. Girls on the Run has a goal to inspire third through eighth grade girls to be “joyful, healthy and confident.” There is a curriculum that works towards that end, and is delivered through physically active games and running. The season culminates with a celebratory, non-competitive 5K that is open to the community (men, women, boys and girls of all ages and abilities). After months of planning with an amazing committee of talented women, yesterday was the big day!
In total, there were nearly 500 runners and even more spectators cheering on the participants. For many of (including my younger son), it was their first 5K. To help alleviate some fear of many first time runners, there was a pack of WonderGirls and WonderBoys who signed up for the race and pledged to finish last… yes, last… so no other race participant would finish last.
As the crowd of runners took off from the starting line and wound their way out onto the course, it was remarkable to see the wide array of ages and abilities of those who have been motivated to become (or stay) physically active. It was a reminder to me that no matter where you are at… young, old, fast, slow, able or disabled… there is always room to move forward.
(For the record, if I had to pick a third word, it would be “exhausting.”)