Growing up, I engaged in a plethora of extracurricular activities. I twirled and tapped at DeLarue Dance Centre, went up to bat in many parks for softball, and rode through St. Landry Parish for equestrian training. Until I stopped.
I’m unsure what, exactly, disengages us from the act of playing as we are older. Rather, what disengages us from healthy ways to use our bodies and socialize. We stop going to dance class and start going to dances, then bars. It’s easy to get caught in a routine of work, school, home. Of spending all your free time feeling rested enough to keep going to work, school, home.
Running changed that for me. And I wish I’d discovered it sooner.
My friends think I’m crazy for spending evenings or early mornings running in circles around Lafayette, but that is when I feel most in tune with my body, my community, and the planet. I set a goal, build momentum the second my feet hit the concrete, and feel my body transform into a manifestation of my ambitions.
Because, when you get down to it, it’s simple. You want something? You work for it. You sacrifice. And even if you don’t get to where you want to be, you get closer every time you try.
Girls on The Run is a national non-profit that strives to instill these truths in young girls via running. There are already branches in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. This Saturday, May 5, the organization will hold a 5k in Broussard at the Broussard Sports Complex St. Julien Park.
Although the organization focuses on girls ages 8-13, the 5k is an all-ages event that aims to spread Girls on The Run’s presence in Acadiana. It is a non-competitive run, but a clock will be available for runners to check their times. Every finisher receives a Girls on the Run 5k medal.
I am deeply grateful for all of my ballet classes, evenings at the bat, and early mornings in the stable. However, I wish there was an organization like Girls on the Run when I was little. I would feel silly going back to ballet as an adult, but running is something that doesn’t have a cap on age limit. In fact, it doesn’t have a cap on age, on body type, or on socioeconomic status. Do you have sneakers? You can run.
The inclusivity of running, and the active community, is one that I believe other Acadiana communities would benefit from observing. The point is never to be better than the person next to you, but to be a better version of yourself. As the Girls on the Run website states, running is about “understanding ourselves, valuing relationships and teamwork and understanding how we connect with and shape the world at large.”
For more information on Girls on the Run, visit facebook.com/gotrsola.