Essay for a Girls on the Run Contest

By the time I was in Middle School I knew my identity very well: I was a band nerd who read lots of books and stunk at sports.  I volunteered to be the lap counter or take attendance for gym to avoid being the last one across that finish line.  During lunch I hid in the library, escaping the courtyard where a game might start for me to lose at.  I wouldn’t say I was miserable, but I certainly was not happy or free in those days.

Years later (more years than a lady is supposed to share), I finally own my body, my choices, and my health.  I’ve learned that running is not a competition to lose.  I’ve learned that lacing up my shoes and stepping outside my door makes me a winner.  And I’ve learned the pure simple joy of running through a new neighborhood, of going farther than the week before, of running beside another athlete and sharing a bit of our stories.

This freedom is why I coach.  I’m inspired to coach by the 6th grader in my past who didn’t know how fun running around that track could be.  I want my girls to realize that there are no boundaries, that there are no expectations they are limited or defined by.  They can be anything and everything they want to be.  They can be inspirations right now at 10 years old and one day when they are 21, 35, or 72.

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