Catching Up With a SoleMate
Amy Bender-Levy is the Girls on the Run St. Louis board president, coach at Green Trails Elementary in Chesterfield, and all around Girls on the Run supporter! If you every have questions about our mission, why you should volunteer, Amy can answer them! But watch out, she will recruit you to cut more than 2,000 bananas to have them ready for our race participants when they cross the finish line! Amy is thrilled to finally have her daughter be old enough to participate in Girls on the Run this year and we can’t wait to see them running our 5k as a family! Amy is running the Chicago marathon as a Solemate this year and shares with us a bit about her journey thus far.
Tell us a bit about you:
My name is Amy Bender-Levy and I have been married for 12 years and have 3 amazing children ages 10, 8 and 4. I started coaching [GOTR] at my elementary school when my oldest was 3 and my now middle child was one year old, so about 7 years ago. I fell in love with the program immediately. I saw the impact the program and lessons had on the girls, how it brought so many different groups of girls to one team and how the girls developed such confidence in themselves. My daughter is now in third grade. While she and I have run a few GOTR 5k's together, she finally gets to experience the program this year and I cannot wait to see the impact it has on her! I have seen the girls go through the program and come back to assist as Junior Coaches. It is a lifetime experience we can provide through the program. I joined the GOTR board 3 years ago and have the privilege of serving as the Board President for one more year. I am so proud of our strong Board.
Why did you choose to be a Solemate for Girls on the Run St. Louis?
What better way to raise money for GOTR St. Louis! Aside from Chicago being an amazing marathon to participate in, my running buddy and I thought it would be a "fun" 40th birthday present to ourselves to run one more marathon! Running as a Solemate was a no-brainer. We [GOTR] have NEVER turned down a girl from participating in this program for financial reasons and I will continue to do whatever I can to ensure that never happens. Every single girl should have the opportunity to experience GOTR!
Tell us about your training journey!
Training for this marathon has been more challenging with 3 kids, a full-time job and volunteer commitments. My training partner and I typically do our long runs together on the weekends, depending on our kids' sporting events, or before the sun rises during the week. We do our shorter runs on our own during the week. Summer is my triathlon season so I get in some good biking and swimming for cross-training too. 26.2 miles is a long run. The motivation and dedication to finish the race is built on lots of training but also, mental perseverance to finish. Knowing that I will be running to raise money for such an amazing program certainly helps with the motivation! And, Chicago is a great race. The crowds are so huge and supportive. And, I will have my training buddy who is one of my closest friends with me for the race. We will get each other through it!
What is one wish you have for the future of Girls on the Run St. Louis?
That every single girl in St. Louis is somehow positively affected by the program. Whether by being a participant, a coach, a junior coach, a running buddy or a family member/friend of a participant, that they get to feel what it means to be GOTR!
Anything else that you would tell someone about your Solemates journey?
If you plan to run a race, why not raise money while doing so for an amazing program, and to raise awareness!