Justin and Kree have been married for 12 years and they have two children. Kree works at St. Louis University Hospital as a CT Technologist and Justin is a firefighter at the Granite City Fire Department. Both Justin and Kree love to run and have completed many races together, from 5k’s to marathons. Last year, Justin ran a 50-mile race and is planning to run a 100-mile race next year! Both of their children, Jackson and Kennley, are very active like their parents; they are both involved in multiple swim teams and Jackson does Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
This was the first year your daughter, Kennley, could participate in GOTR. Is that how your family first heard about GOTR and got involved?
I've known about GOTR since Jackson was younger and there was a program at his school. I thought it sounded like a great program and couldn't wait for Kennley to be old enough to participate. When the head coach at Kennley’s school, Jenna, asked if Justin and I would like to help coach we didn't even hesitate. I was excited for the opportunity!
What was your motivation for both of you to volunteer as a coach?
With Kennley being old enough for GOTR this year we were happy to help out with the team when Jenna asked. This was Kennley's first year at the school and I knew it would be a great way to make new friends. I wanted to know more about the program and couldn't wait to get involved. The fact that it involved running was an added bonus.
How was the coaching experience for both of you?
We both enjoyed coaching and getting to know the girls. They were a lot of fun and I enjoyed getting to see Kennley interact with her friends from school. The first practice the girls were unsure of Justin and asked why a boy was there! After a few practices they were asking where he was. He had definitely won them over! They loved his energy and how goofy he was. I really enjoyed every lesson and was even able to apply the lessons to my own life. As a mother, I find it so important to raise a strong daughter who is confident. I love that the program combines physical activity as part of the curriculum and the lessons are wonderful for these young girls. Every girl needs GOTR!
How was the GOTR experience for Kennley?
She loved GOTR! She loved getting the medal after the 5K. She is already excited for the spring season!
Your whole family, including your son, got to participate in the GOTR 5k together! How was the experience for the whole family?
We had a really great time! I've done a lot of races, but there was something special about seeing all of those young girls with their coaches or parents running together. Being able to cross the finish line with Kennley for her first 5K is a memory I will cherish forever. Justin was able to run with one of our other girls who needed a partner and Jackson decided to run his own pace! It was a great experience for us all and a wonderful memory. We were so proud of all the girls!
Do you have any favorite GOTR moments you'd like to share?
My favorite memory was probably at the 5K and seeing how excited the girls were to see Justin's mohawk wig. The team knew Justin’s favorite cheer was "The Mohawk," so he had the idea to find a mohawk wig for the race. The girls loved it!
What is your wish for other GOTR-STL families?
My wish is that every girl walks away with a positive experience and a little more confidence. I hope they are able to apply some of the lessons they learn from GOTR at school and home and overall feel more comfortable in their own skin. I hope they all keep making healthy decisions, setting goals and keep moving forward!
What is your family's favorite thing to do together?
Justin and I typically work opposite shifts, so we value any time that we can spend together as a family! Whether it is going to the movies or having a movie night at home. We are also already planning to do another 5K as a family soon!