Susan Thomas

Susan Thomas

Susan is a volunteer coach with Girls on the Run St. Louis for the Edwardsville, Illinois team. She is always an advocate for the program and has offered to help with everything from promoting Girls on the Run at local events to assisting at coaches training. The team in Edwardsville grew exponentially this season so Susan changed roles from head coach to site liaison to manage communication between the GOTR office and the coaches, participants and parents. Her enthusiasm for GOTR is infectious and we appreciate all of her time and dedication! Read more about Susan below……

When did you first get involved with Girls on the Run? Why?

This will be my fifth season with Girls on the Run. I have three daughters and know first hand how difficult it can be getting through adolescence.  That awkward part of a girl’s development that we all wish everyone around us would forget about us.  I want my girls to understand that you shouldn’t let someone else control how you feel about yourself.

What is the most rewarding thing about Girls on the Run?

My absolute favorite part is the 5k in Forest Park.  I love it when I have new girls on the team that have never been to the race.  It’s fun to watch as the anxious nerves break away and turn into excitement and confidence, as they get closer to the finish line.  Someday, when I’m old and my granddaughters are in the program, I’m going to volunteer to be at the finish line taking pictures and giving out hugs.

Why would you recommend others get involved as a volunteer for Girls on the Run?

This program is so valuable for the girls, but it also helps the adults who are involved.  I never know who gets more out of the lessons each season … me or the girls.  I can’t begin to even count the number of times I talk about my “sparkly Girl on the Run cord” when I’m aggravated at work, in traffic, or even waiting in line.  It’s a constant reminder to be positive and project a positive attitude.

What are your hopes for the future of Girls on the Run at your school?

The Edwardsville Team is an independent team, meaning we aren’t hosted by a school.  I wanted to get the program started in Edwardsville and initially brought Girls on the Run to the private school that my daughter attended.  As the program grows, I’m so grateful to all of the fellow moms who have stepped up and helped get the program going in our community, but I would absolutely love it if we could get Girls on the Run in every school in Edwardsville.

What’s your favorite Girls on the Run cheer?

During training, one of the Girls on the Run coaches from another team taught me the “mullet cheer.” Every season, I teach it to the next group of girls.  We look ridiculous doing it, but all of the girls laugh and have fun with it.

Any favorite memories or stories you’d like to share?

My favorite memory is of my own daughter last summer.  She hadn’t turned 9 yet and was outside playing in the backyard on the swing set with another little girl from the neighborhood.  I didn’t hear all of the conversation, but I could tell that my own daughter was a little down in the dumps that day.  I heard the other little girl say to her, “I think you’re pretty.” My daughter replied, “I don’t care if I’m pretty or not.  I’m just happy that I’m strong and confident.”  I was so excited to know that even though she won’t listen to me about doing homework or practicing the piano, she understands the lessons that we are teaching (even though it doesn’t even look like she’s paying attention). And I didn’t know she got it, until that moment.

Tell us more about you!

I’ve been married for 16 years this month to my honorary “girl on the run” Gavin.  We have three daughters, Gwen, age 10, Camilla, age 5, and Elaine, age 2.  I have a full time job as a manager at a mass transit agency.  Sometimes, I think I meet myself running out the door to the next appointment.  I love every minute of it and am so glad that I heard about the program through my pediatrician, Dr. Kristin Stahl.  When Gwendolyn was younger, I knew I wanted to get involved and it’s a decision that I have never regretted even when life gets really busy.