Friday, May 22, 2009


I don't have much time to share. Liz Kunz, our President at Girls on the Run, and I are driving back to Detroit and then flying home to Charlotte.

Yesterday we attended the Girls on the Run 5k in Kalamazoo, MI. There is something quite magical about this city. A camaraderie exists here...a feeling of community. It's like the city is one big neighborhood where everyone looks out for each other, cheers one another on and basically takes care of one another. Case in point: the Kalamazoo Promise. I don't know the exact details but I do know that a group of caring, forward-thinking philanthropists here, pooled their money together to start a fund that would provide college tuition (to a state university) for every high school senior that graduated.

Love would be the word I could use that best describes the connections between people here. I saw it yesterday at the New Balance Girls on the Run 5k. Over 2200 girls and their running buddies ran through streets that had been shut down for their passage.

I stood at the finish line overwhelmed by it all. The sunset was beautiful, the music was invigorating and the non-stop "you did it's" or "way to go's" or "you go girl's" were just that! Non-stop!

About ten minutes after the first girls finished, the numbers of girls approaching the finish line increased. Girl after girl lifted her arms in appreciation for what she had just accomplished.

When I saw her. I had signed her shirt prior to the event. Her name was Molly. I was struck by the irony of that moment, watching her as she approached the finish line, of how she resembled the 4th grade version of me. Small-boned, shoulder length hair, tomboy, athletic. In that sea of girls I watched her as she rounded the corner and began her final 50 yards toward the finish line.

Several yards from me, she caught my eye. The smile that had hidden just below the surface could no longer keep from revealing itself and so it emerged. Big, bold, bright and radiant. Molly's heart's delight.

As she approached me, she reached her hand out for a high-five, which I gladly provided. She passed me, on toward the finish line...her victory...her life.

I couldn't hold back the tears...thankful everyday for the chance to experience the confidence, bravery and strength that I didn't know I had, in 4th grade. The chance for a "do-over". The chance to love, cherish and remind myself that the 4th grade Molly still lives within...the 4th grade Molly who is strong, bold and beautiful and who has grown up to become me.

Thank you Molly, for reminding me, of just how powerful we are.

1 comment:

  1. I just want to say thank you--to both Mollys!-- for your inspiration. I'm a runner myself and currently finding the strength, boldness, beauty, and power within when I run. I came across your blog a few weeks ago and I love reading all of the inspiring stories...they keep me running and writing!