When did you first get involved with Girls on the Run and why? I was indirectly involved when my wife, Katie Lerwick was one of the first coaches for GOTR St. Louis working with Jill Indovino when GOTR was first introduced to St. Louis and our daughter Sarah was one of the first girls to go through the program. My first direct involvement was as the announcer for the very first GOTR 5K race in Tower Grove Park. I think we may have had a couple hundred runners and I used a megaphone for that race. I’ve announced every race since then and I’m awed by the continued growth and success.
What is the most rewarding thing about Girls on the Run that both you’ve experienced and that you’ve seen for the girls you’ve coached? I’ve had a number of experiences through my daughter and her friends with GOTR that have been rewarding but as an announcer seeing some of the girls who are approaching their first finish of a 5k with tears in their eyes and an amazing sense of accomplishment has been the most rewarding thing for me to experience. It’s what keeps me coming back every race. For some of these girls this is a really big deal and it brings me really great joy to encourage and congratulate them through the microphone. When they hear their name they just light up. It’s really special.
Why would you recommend others get involved as a volunteer for Girls on the Run OR why would you recommend a girl participate in Girls on the Run? This program is truly special and touches girls at a critical time in their development to help them develop the skills and perspective to address the social and cultural challenges they’re sure to face. It helps them realize a true sense of physical accomplishment. Who wouldn’t want to help if they can? I’ve seen the results first hand.
What are your hopes for the future of Girls on the Run as an organization? My hopes are for more of the same. The same from what I’ve seen is sustained and continued growth, the more schools, girls and communities that can be touched by this program the better.
Any favorite memories or stories you’d like to share? I’ve got a pretty good bank of great memories from GOTR across the years. From the first race in Tower Grove Park, unbelievable national anthems from GOTR girls and now a coach, the looks on the girls faces crossing that finish line and hearing their name, volunteer efforts above and beyond and so many more.
Anything about yourself you’d like to share? Running accomplishments? Family? Place of employment? Hopes and dreams? Favorite ice cream flavor? I guess I’ve always secretly wanted to be an announcer. It’s not my day job and I don’t do it for anyone else but it’s been a true joy to support GOTR and play this role.