Kathy is the school nurse at CA Henning Elementary in Troy, IL and is credited with bringing GOTR to Henning in the fall of 2008. With six seasons of coaching under her belt, Kathy is a trusted GOTR veteran who happens to be very creative, incredibly organized and willing to share her best practices and communication pieces with all of the other coaches! She is an awesome coach, mentor, and role model to the girls on her team.
Kathy decided to become involved with GOTR because she loves running. It has changed her live in many positive ways and she wanted the girls at her school to have some of the experiences she had through running. Kathy says, “I have been a runner for about 13 years. I started to walk/run to lose weight. Gradually I was running more than walking. I lost 40 pounds. I wanted to help others so I ran my first marathon for the leukemia and lymphoma society in 2000. I met some of my best friends and have visited some awesome places because of races. I eat healthier because of running. Overall, I am a better person because of the way running makes me feel about myself. I want others to feel like I do and that’s why I feel so strongly about GOTR! I just want to give back.”
What is the most rewarding thing about Girls on the Run that you’ve seen for the girls you’ve coached? The best experiences happen in everyday practices. One of my favorite things to talk with the girls about is “believing in yourself.” It’s the best when they finally start believing they can actually run 3.1 miles. It’s something that still amazes me! I was not nearly as determined at their age so it’s very impressive to see it happen. Of course, with that goal, also comes the belief that they can do anything they set their minds to!!
Why would you recommend a girl participate in Girls on the Run? I’m always trying to promote GOTR to the girls at my school. I tell them that it’s a lot of work, but the main goals are, not to run the fastest, but to do your best AND have FUN. All of our coaches work hard to ensure that the practices stay fun. We have awesome coaches.
What are your hopes for the future of Girls on the Run as an organization? I hope that the GOTR organization continues to thrive throughout the area and that it will be a common after-school activity at all schools and organizations. I have seen unbelievable growth in a few short years. However, with that growth, the community support with race sponsorship becomes all the more important. I hope that local sponsors will continue to see the GOTR mission as important and providing support.
What’s your favorite Girls on the Run cheer? The girls love to huddle together at the end of the practice and get together with hands in the middle and do a team cheer that goes “Girls on the Run is so much fun….we can do it…let’s get to it.” There are other versions too…but that one always seems to come back.
Any favorite memories or stories you’d like to share? Our community service project is always fun for the girls. I am especially fond of the trip last fall to the local food pantry to deliver donated items from our school. Our goal was to collect two cans or items from each student. A pretty lofty goal! But we made our goal of over 1,400 donations! The girls helped load up the bus and deliver the items. It was pretty awesome, the way we all felt about giving to those in need. I hoped they would realize the impact that we can all make on our community and they did!