Just planting the seeds

Just planting the seeds

"Girls on the Run, does that mean the girls are running from something?"

"It's really just a running program right?"

"So happy those girls without any opportunities have a place to go after school!"

I've lived and breathed Girls on the Run for about nine years.  Watched girls come in as tiny little eight year olds, and just recently started to see those same girls graduate and head off to college.  It's in the fabric of my 13-year-old daughter's life having been a little helper to start, who moved on to having her own team for three years, and continued having GOTR'ized everything in our home and busting out of our storage closets.  I see and share inspirational videos & images plastered all over social media, and got to see first lady Michelle Obama mention Girls on the Run on television. So I really get taken aback still when someone asks me a question like these and I sometimes stumble into my lazy way of describing it: "It's an after school program for girls that uses running to build their self esteem."

Meet the 2016 Solemate team & why they are running on behalf of Girls on the Run

Meet the 2016 Solemate team & why they are running on behalf of Girls on the Run

For the first time in the Summer of 2012 a team of 12 Wood River Valley women traveled to Aston, Idaho on the edge of the Teton mountains to run a combined length of 180 miles over two passes and beautiful mountain scenery which make up the course of the Grand Teton Relay.  While SoleMates are often pursuing their own individual race goals, this team of women chose to travel together to race together, while doing it for something that is meaningful to them such as the Girls on the Run program. They happily agree to stink up their vans together, sleep in awkward places, and run in the middle of the night all for a great cause!  Girls on the Run has been supported by this team effort each summer since.  Meet our teammates on the 2016 Grand Teton Relay team, as well as our other Solemates running in their own personally chosen race goal.  

Meet the 2015 Solemate team & why they choose to be a Solemate!

Amber Larna
Solemate; someone you have a very deep connection with, it is not always easily explained. It is a meeting of mind, heart, body and soul on the highest of levels. Communication as its easiest, as they understand you perfectly and accepts you completely with no judgments. 

Girls on the Run is a nationwide after-school program offered to 3rd-5th grade girls, as well as 6th-8th grade girls in select locations. The program inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. 

As a previous GOTR Coach, I have learned that besides my amazing husband of 15 years I have found another soulmate, running. I put on my shoes, lace them up anytime of the day and feel the dirt under my feet. My mind clears, my heart is full and my body is moving.  My shoes do not judge me, the earth underneath does not judge me. I am me, I am free, I love me. I am able to set personal daily and long term goals, I have learned to step out of the box and grow.

This is the exact experience I wish I had when I was younger to be able to love myself and know that I was able to reach my own goals. We as Girls on the Run strive to transform the way girls see themselves and their opportunities. Our ultimate goal is to reach every girl to inspire them to be joyful, healthy and confident.

Susie Lambert
This year I have once again decided to run in the Grand Teton Relay!!  The experience I had last year was so amazing and even life changing, I could not pass up the opportunity to do it again! The money I am raising will go towards the Girls On The Run program which I have been involved with as a parent, volunteer and Solemate for 5 years now.  There are many young girls out there, like my daughter, who have the desire to pursue a healthy lifestyle through eating and exercise and also to be involved in the community. Girls On The Run makes it possible for these girls to learn how to do just that! Fundraising for Girls On The Run allows me to give back to this great program that gave my daughter an amazing experience when she was in elementary school.

Caitlin Short
This summer, I am joining 11 other inspiring ladies in running the Grand Teton Relay to raise funds for Girls on the Run. Girls on the Run is a nationwide after-school program offered to 3rd-5th grade girls as well as 6th-8th girls in select locations. The program inspires girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.

The Grand Teton Relay is a 180-mile team race that starts in Ashton, ID, goes through Island Park, and finished in Jackson Hole, WY. It's 24 hours (yes, we run through the night) of breathtaking scenery and unforgettable memories. 

Please join me in helping girls discover the joy and empowerment that can be found in running and choosing a healthy lifestyle!

11429689_10153397035466941_776382403451727569_n.jpg

Julie Brown
I am so excited to be participating in the Grand Teton Relay again this year and raising awareness and funds for our Local Girls on the Run program.  The message of the program is good for girls of any age.  A positive self image is sometimes hard to maintain with all the media and images we are bombarded with daily.  I am grateful for the positive message of self acceptance and the tools the GOTR program provides. I have had to put it into practice in my own life recently and what a difference it makes when we talk positively to ourselves

Sarah Bennett
I have volunteered as a Girls on the Run Coach for the last two seasons now. The girls have been so much fun to work with and have given so much to me--I want to be able to give something back to them. Each day I am with them they bring a smile to my face and inspire me to be a better person. I hope that I can inspire them in return and help to ensure that this program remains a strong part of the local community.

Mary Fauth
This blog titled "Bloom Where You Are: Lessons on our Power" by GOTR mom tells exactly how we see so many girls with the authentic determination an 8 year old can possess, and if they are lucky how the can hold on to it long into adulthood.  Yes, some girls remain in this space just long enough to get through some of the tougher times that will come, but many I see drift away early and it takes special moments in adulthood to reconnected.  When I personally found strength in tackling the unknown of giving birth unassisted by pain medications, then transforming that into my first marathon goal, that was when I really started to tap my own power and determination to set an achieve major goals.  And I've never stopped using those goals to benefit something bigger than myself!  That is why I'm a Solemate for Girls on the Run! 

Sarah Dugas
I have been volunteering for Girls on the Run in the Wood River Valley for the past two seasons. I started volunteering to become a part of this community and make a difference in some girls life. Shortly after the first season started I realized they were making just as much of a difference on me. It has amazed me how intelligent, aware, and hilarious these girls are. They are sponges to everything that is going on around them. That makes me want to continue being a positive influence to them and showing them how to grow up and be successful, confident, smart, and independent woman. Being a part of GOTR and running for Solemates is just one way I can show these girls how to be strong.

Jen Peterson
I believe in empowering individuals with one easily applicable universal skill that grounds them. Something that can be wielded whenever, wherever and with the minimum of fuss. For me, thanks to my pioneering mom, it was running. Not fast, not pretty, just moving it. I'm moving it for Girls on the Run so they can empower girls long after my legs break down. I'm trying to earn enough to sponsor one young woman. Can you help me? 

Savannah Rice
Hi! I'll be running in the Sawtooth Relay as a Solemate to raise funds for the Girls on the Run program in the Wood River Valley. I had the opportunity to volunteer as a coach with  the program Fall of 2014 and it was so much fun! I think the program is a great way for girls to learn about running, complete their first 5k, and learn about self-confidence, healthy relationships, and teamwork. Please consider helping me raise funds to provide scholarships for girls to continue participating in the program!

Meet the 2014 Solemate team & read why they are raising funds for Girls on the Run!

Pedro Gonzalez-Clemente
This is a great program and I hope to see it grow to continue helping the young girls. This program helps inspire me and others to believe in the cause that the generosity of the people like you have made possible. I wish to inspire my daughters and nieces. I want them to see that everything is possible, I want to lead them with my example. I also want the community, specially the Hispanic community, to get involved in great programs like girls on the run. Programs like this help shape our kids, and our kids are our future. Thanks in advance for all of your help and generosity.

Hank Dart
I am a previous member of the Board of Directors of Girls on the Run of the Wood River Valley, and I am also an avid runner who has long loved the elemental lessons that running teaches. Its simple one-foot-in-front-of-the-other journey lays the foundation for clear thinking, for testing and building one's character, for creativity, and for being accepting of oneself while always moving forward.  

Injuries, however, have put a bit of a hitch in my personal running journey for the past number of years, drastically cutting back the miles I’ve been able to log. But the past few months have been largely injury-free, and it has been fantastic to again be able to run mile after mile and feel more in tune with myself than I have for a while. And I wanted to share that positive energy by using my upcoming race at the Moab Red Hot 55k (34 miles) on February 15 as an opportunity to raise money for our chapter of Girls on the Run.  

Running has been a gift to me ever since I laced up a pair of black and yellow Adidas in the 7th grade, and it is the gift that all kids should have the chance to experience.As some of you know, I am a member of the Board of Directors of Girls on the Run of the Wood River Valley, and I am also an avid runner who has long loved the elemental lessons that running teaches. Its simple one-foot-in-front-of-the-other journey lays the foundation for clear thinking, for testing and building one's character, for creativity, and for being accepting of oneself while always moving forward.  

Injuries, however, have put a bit of a hitch in my personal running journey for the past number of years, drastically cutting back the miles I’ve been able to log. But the past few months have been largely injury-free, and it has been fantastic to again be able to run mile after mile and feel more in tune with myself than I have for a while. And I wanted to share that positive energy by using my upcoming race at the Moab Red Hot 55k (34 miles) on February 15 as an opportunity to raise money for our chapter of Girls on the Run.  

Running has been a gift to me ever since I laced up a pair of black and yellow Adidas in the 7th grade, and it is the gift that all kids should have the chance to experience. 

Mariah Stout
The Girls on the Run program is very special to me as is running! I participated in the program when I was younger and had a blast, so this past fall I decided to coach for the program as my senior project! I feel that GOTR provides girls with a much needed emotional education in discussing topics, such as bullying and gratitude, which are not touched on in school, while also providing them with endorphins and confidence through the integration of running. I am so excited to say that while training for the Grand Teton Relay which I will run August 15-16 along with a 12 great teammates, I am also able to fundraise for the Girls on the Run program! Please support my team and I as we aim to raise funds so Girls in the Wood River Valley can have as positive experience with GOTR as I know that I did, gain confidence in themselves, and perhaps even become lifelong runners! 

Janel Passey
Running has always been a huge part of my life. It has taught me so much as an athlete, teammate, and person. Some of the best experiences and memories I have come from running. I have worked with Girls on the Run previously and it is such a wonderful program.It helps young girls gain more self-esteem, learn about important social abilities (such as kindness), and have a positive outlook in different areas of their lives through the running program. My 12 teammates and I are excited to be running this relay and raising money for the Girls on the Run program in the Wood River Valley, we appreciate your support!

Shari Kunz

It's been 12 years since I read about a program called Girls on the Run in Runner's World magazine and brought it to our community. Our very own amazing Girls on the Run of the Wood River Valley! And every Fall and Spring since, hundreds of girls have gathered under the wings of caring volunteer women and have been inspired to be joyful, healthy and confident. They have been nurtured to learn to take charge of their lives - as one girl put it, "Girls on the Run made me realize that I am boss of my own brain." Lives have been changed, characters strengthened, confidence gained, and inspiration has been shared, one girl, one woman, one life at a time. Help support me through your donation as I participate in the Grand Teton Relay and share what the power of running can do to impact the life of these beautiful girls. Twelve women, 180 miles, running through the Grand Tetons to make a difference. We are SoleMates, and with your help we can all give the gift of believing anything is possible. Thank you for joining me!!!

Analia Passey
While growing up in Argentina I did not have the opportunity to participate in programs such as Girls on the Run. I think it is a amazing way to help young girls to be strong and to believe in themselves. Along with my teammates, we are raising money for the Girls on the Run program in the Wood River Valley, please help support us! 

Loni Unser

I've been a part of girls on the run since i was in second grade as a young runner, I just recently became a part of the Girls on the Run Board, and hope to maybe do some coaching in the future. I help plan events and come up with new and different ideas to help benefit the program. I have been loving it so far and can't wait to become even further involved in it. Being on Girls on the Run when I was younger made me realize my passion for running and the outdoors. I run for the Wood River High School's Cross Country running team and love everything about it. I am also a Cross Country Skier, so, I spend almost all of my time exploring Idaho's beautiful backyard. I have truly found myself through running and skiing.

Missy Klopcic
Last year when Mary asked me if I wanted to run in the Grand Teton Relay I was adamant that I was no where near qualified  to run something that epic.  To ease my guilty conscious though, I told her to go ahead and sign me up for the next year (A year seemed very far away at that time).  Well here we are, one year later and true to my word, I'm signed up.  I still feel like I am no where near qualified, but I'm really excited to:

1- race on behalf of Girls On The Run

2- make a bunch of new friends

3- race with an old  friend

4- cross 'run a relay race' off my bucket list 

 Listening to Mary talk about all the great things the program teaches girls, I wish my local community had a GOTR program for my own girls. The message of GOTR is powerful, healthy and uplifting.  If I can help give the gift of higher self-esteem, improved body image, and a healthy lifestyle to young girls, then I am in!  And I hope you are too!  Please consider supporting me in this amazing endeavor and make a donation to Girls On The Run!  

Nicole St. Germain
"If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run." -John Bingham

I do love a good run, even muddy ones, but the ones where I can support a good cause are worth it!!! Please consider donating to a terrific group, Girls on the Run, and help me get a girl fired up about lacing up!

Susie Lambert
This year I have once again decided to run in the Grand Teton Relay!!  This will be my 3rd year in the relay but, to refresh your memory, last year I tore my ACL less than 2 weeks before I was to run so my status of Runner became Driver Of Van One. Now that I am healed and running again, I could not pass up the opportunity to do it again! The money I am raising will go towards the Girls On The Run program which I have been involved with as a parent, volunteer and Solemate for 5 years now.  There are many young girls out there, like my daughter, who have the desire to pursue a healthy lifestyle through eating and exercise and also to be involved in the community. Girls On The Run makes it possible for these girls to learn how to do just that! Fundraising for Girls On The Run allows me to give back to this great program that gave my daughter an amazing experience when she was in elementary school.  I hope you will consider supporting me in this great adventure and make a donation to Girls On The Run!!  I bet your donation will even make me run faster!! 

susie.jpg

Kamie Berkey Hobbs
Because I believe in the Girls on the Run Program and the amazing people who run it, I am running the Grand Teton Relay this week to raise money to support these efforts.  This program helps young girls discover who they are, what strength they have within, and how to utilize that strength to be their best selves.  That makes a huge difference in our world and it is one to which I want to contribute.  So, I and 11 incredible women will run and sweat together for 24 hours and conquer 180 miles in the Tetons to make sure these girls know that we believe in them!  You can join us by contributing financially to our cause.  Every dollar counts, so please help us support this program in any way that you can.  Many, many thanks!!

Mary Fauth
Charity racing has become one of my most favorite ways to do a race. It started in 2006 when I ran my first marathon on behalf of a friend fighting breast cancer. At the time I was 35 years old and didn't know of anyone my age yet that was going through cancer, and I felt powerless to do anything about it. When I realized that I had the "opportunity" to run a marathon, rather than have to be traveling each week for chemo treatments, I realized how lucky I was and wanted to use that privileged to do something meaningful. By simply asking my friends and family to support me by making donations on my cancer fighting friend's behalf, I was able to raise almost $7000! That made a huge dent in medical costs and took some of the burden off the family of this stressful time. And it was this motivating effort that kept me from not pulling out of the race even when I got sick just days before. Even if I walked the whole thing, I was still bound and determined to complete it in my friends honor!

I keep this in mind when ever I have the this same privilege to tackle a goal, and now I have the opportunity to personally make a difference in a young girl's life here in my own community as I travel to do a totally team spirited event such as the Grand Teton Relay this August 14-15th. The tools and confidence building that we get to share with girls in the Girls on the Run program is something I know I would've benefited from long ago when I went through the same issues they are facing each day. Whether it's from someone bulling them at school, to the awful things your girl friends can do each other, to the pressure of needing to be dating a boy to feel worthy, or the messages we see in advertisements or by so called media role models, having some guidance and mentoring to help tackle these issues can make life altering changes in a girl's life. If I knew what I could do today back when I was in 6th grade, I'd be on top of the world!

Transitions and other fun stuff!

Roscoe lap hopping.  

Roscoe lap hopping.  

Waiting on the last transition in the entire race!  So glad to have the team together at so many transitions.  

Waiting on the last transition in the entire race!  So glad to have the team together at so many transitions.  

Van 2 joins Van 1 during their first legs for some cheering.

Van 2 joins Van 1 during their first legs for some cheering.

We LOVED our capes

We LOVED our capes

Loni's parents greet her and the team before her van takes off for their first legs.

Loni's parents greet her and the team before her van takes off for their first legs.

The young ins' at the top of Teton Pass.

The young ins' at the top of Teton Pass.

Van 2

Nicole taking off for the longest leg of the race.

Nicole taking off for the longest leg of the race.

The hand off to Loni so she can tackle the bottom portion of Teton Pass.

The hand off to Loni so she can tackle the bottom portion of Teton Pass.

Susie our Team Captain smiling through Teton Pass!

Susie our Team Captain smiling through Teton Pass!

Queen of the flags :)

Queen of the flags :)

Loni looking great on her first leg.

Mariah was soooo fast on her first leg we had to hurry to catch up!

Mariah was soooo fast on her first leg we had to hurry to catch up!

Susie rockin' Teton Pass!

Susie rockin' Teton Pass!

Van 1 get's their first leg in

Kamie taking off as the first runner for the team!

Thunder and lightening didn't keep Ceisha for finishing her first leg.

Mary handing the baton to Shari.

Shari full of spirit as the day heated up and we made our initial assents in Island Park.

Missy finishing out the first set of legs strong!

Missy finishing out the first set of legs strong!

The start!!

Our mascot Rosco!

Our mascot Rosco!

Sent from my iPhone

On our way, getting our capes and decorating the cars

Dinner in Rexburg.

Dinner in Rexburg.

Dinner in Rexburg.

Dinner in Rexburg.

"Honk if you love Girls on the Run"… Too bad it rained that night and all of the writing was unrecognizable in the morning.

"Honk if you love Girls on the Run"… Too bad it rained that night and all of the writing was unrecognizable in the morning.

Dashboard lights to light our way in the night runs.

Dashboard lights to light our way in the night runs.

"Be Your Own Hero" is the theme for the cars.

"Be Your Own Hero" is the theme for the cars.

Doning the cape!

Doning the cape!

Gift sharing just before heading to bed.

Gift sharing just before heading to bed.

And we're… almost off!

A little taste of our costumes for the race!  Even our mascot Roscoe (not pictured here… just Mary's dog's modeling the pink GOTR capes!) is going to be in theme.    Getting last minute food items, gathering all sorts of running attire, safety items  (i.e. bear spray & reflective vests), and loading the cars.