Sara Houlette

Sara Houlette
Coach at Flynn Park Elementary in University City

Sara has been a long time coach at Flynn Park Elementary in University City – without having a kiddo in the program or teaching at the school!  She has been giving her time as a coach since 2008.

Sara relocated to St. Louis for work in October 2008. She was looking for a way to get involved with the community and a friend from Chicago recommended she see if St. Louis had Girls on the Run. She ran the 5K that November amidst the sea of colored ponytails and was amazed at the strength and breadth of the program. She signed up right away to coach starting in Spring 2009.  She was placed at Flynn Park and the rest is history.

Here’s what else Sara had to say in her own words …

What is the most rewarding thing about Girls on the Run?  On a personal level, it’s given me the opportunity to meet some amazing women in St. Louis that I’m honored to now call friends. These women are at all different phases in their lives, but it doesn’t matter because we share the bond of Girls on the Run. Gaining a lot of running friends didn’t hurt either!

The most rewarding thing I’ve witnessed as a coach has to be mentoring. Unlike a lot of the coaches, I work a full-time job and am not a teacher or parent with any affiliation to the school. Because of that, the girls are able to look up to me as a (much) older sister, and will come to me for advice or just to share their accomplishments and disappointments of the day. Some of the end-of-season thank you cards I’ve received have brought me to tears.

Why would you recommend a girl participate in Girls on the Run?  I recommend girls participate in GOTR because, at the end of the day, its fun and everyone is a rockstar at GOTR. Not every girl can be great at soccer or music or dance, but every girl has the chance to succeed at GOTR. Attending practices and being involved in the lessons will boost her self-confidence, let her voice be heard and keep her healthy and active!

What are your hopes for the future of Girls on the Run as an organization or at your school?  At Flynn Park I would like to see even more parent and teacher involvement in the program. We have a solid base of coaches, but most of us are not affiliated at Flynn and unfortunately, will one day have to move on. If we could get more parents and teachers to volunteer with us, it will help to ensure the success and longevity of the Flynn Park program.

What’s your favorite Girls on the Run cheer?  Everyone should know how to properly “rock the mullet!”

Any favorite memories or stories you’d like to share?  I walked into the first day of practice a couple of years ago after a particularly stressful day at work. As I walked into the gym that day, I was greeted by 20+ screams of “Coach Sara!,” as the girls ran my direction and enveloped me in a huge group hug. Immediately that stressful day was a distant memory.

Anything about yourself you’d like to share? Running accomplishments? Family? Place of employment? Hopes and dreams? Favorite ice cream flavor?  I have trouble sitting still for too long, so I can often be seen running around U. City (look for my bright green shoes) or rock climbing. I’ve run 3 marathons, one as a SoleMate, and more races of various lengths than I can count. I have an awesome chocolate labradoodle, Sawyer, that looks like a Muppet, and an equally awesome and supportive boyfriend, Matt. My most lofty dream is to one day visit 6 of the 7 continents. I like anything with peanut butter in it. Monday, August 13 I start a new job with Bunge North America, after working for the same company for 10 years!