Saturday was the culmination of weeks and weeks of work for about 600 local girls. They spent the spring doing Girls on the Run, an amazing self-esteem program for third through fifth graders.
A portion of the program involves running (or walking or skipping!). And then each girl is paired with an adult running buddy who comes along for the Practice 5K and then the final 5K.
My Cooper Mountain Elementary School team's Practice 5K was May 5 in the neighborhood around the school. Then the final "race" was May 21 on the University of Portland campus.
The 5K started in waves, with Cooper Mountain in the very last group. What especially touched me was watching our girls spend their extra time cheering their hearts out for teams who started before us:Miriam had a plan to run 3-minute intervals with 1-minute walks in between. (In the practice run we did 1-minute run intervals!) When it was finally our turn to run, we walked to the start, got in line and then took off down the sidewalk. The course was a triple loop. We were asked to stay on the sidewalks, which proved very difficult, especially since we started in the back of the pack.
I have a great respect for this program! But a couple things could have been better at the 5K. If the race had been done on the streets, these girls could have really shown their stuff. Miriam was itching to go, but it was just so very crowded. Also, there was a water station we were supposed to hit three times as we ran around UP. They were almost out of water when we arrived the first time and totally out after that. I felt bad for Miriam and others who didn't have water! I'm just glad it wasn't a hot day.
Other than that, it was great! Families lined the course to cheer and snap photos. The atmosphere was amazing with everyone cheering for everyone. And Miriam did so well! Her mental game was strong, and her running was great, too! As the finish line came into view, Miriam took off, sprinting to the end! I had to really work to catch her :)
Finisher medals for everyone:
The Cooper Mountain team and coaches:
Everyone had a wonderful time and felt so accomplished! What a great experience :)