Today will be a day of great emotion for me.

My own daughter Helen…is being trained to be a Girls on the Run coach.

When I started Girls on the Run in 1996, she wasn’t born yet.

While I was pregnant with her, (I knew I was having a little girl), I wrote the piece that follows for our local newspaper. Runner’s World picked up on the program as did four very brave women who attended our first ever Girls on the Run training in August of 1998. I was SO pregnant and it was SO hot, and I was SO elated.

At that point, in my life I hadn’t experienced anything quite so beautiful, as being pregnant with a little girl and expanding (in more ways than one might I add :)) the program that was so dear to my heart to four cities outside my own.

Well, I can say that TODAY is as beautiful a day and one that brings me more joy than I thought possible.

Helen, my girl, I am proud of your strength, your courage and most of all your willingness to, as this piece first introduced to the world, shatter the Girl Box and choose a life defined by no one but You!!! Go get ’em.

Here’s that article:

” In 1976, I bought my first pair of running shoes. I was fifteen, and like most girls that age, trying to figure out who I was inside a changing body. I desperately wanted to fit in with the popular crowd, but I couldn’t fit into the box it placed over my spirit. The box told me things I knew in my heart weren’t true: That the way I behaved and looked was more important than who I was inside. That being a woman meant being quiet and submissive. That having a boyfriend meant having to mold my body and actions to meet prescribed cultural standards. But I stepped in anyway. The years I spent trying to mold my thoughts, body, lifestyle and being into what the box required were extremely painful.

So I ran. I’d put on my running shoes and head for the woods, the streets, wherever my feet would take me. I felt strong. Beautiful. Powerful.

July 7th, 1993 – I remember it well. I put on my running shoes and went for a sunset run. I am not sure during what point of the run the box disappeared, but like a glass womb, it shattered around me and pushed me out, born to an entirely new freedom. It was a moment of personal awakening.

A year later, I began to write the Girls on the Run curriculum. The concept, however, was born long before. It was born in 8th grade when a boy in my class told me that I looked like a boy. It was born when a young woman, weighing 85 pounds and starving herself, told me she needed to lose weight to be beautiful. It was born when a pregnant thirteen-year-old and I took a long walk in the woods.

Girls on the Run is a lot more than a running program. It will, I believe, lead to an entire generation of girls living peacefully and happily outside of the Girl Box.

In the year 2030, I’ll be 70. My daughter will be 32. If I have anything to say about it, she will never have to climb out of the Girl Box. Girls on the Run will shatter these constraints, like the spirit did for me that July night and help her and other girls feel comfortable simply being themselves.”

(Helen is second from the right.)