The SoleMates program enables Girls on the Run of Stark County to continue their mission of inspiring girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident.
Armed with face paint, teal t-shirts, posters and cheers, Stark County’s Girls on the Run and Girls on Track teams filled several “Rally Alleys” at the inaugural Pro Football Hall of Fame Marathon. Not only were they cheering on the racers, they were cheering for SoleMates—the Girls on the Run of Stark County (GOTR Stark) charity runners.
Last season, nine SoleMates raised nearly $4,000 for GOTR Stark through setting a variety of goals including running a first marathon, running the North Coast 24 Hour Endurance run, and running 13 half marathons. While the goals and events varied significantly, our SoleMates shared one vision: supporting GOTR Stark in our mission to empower girls throughout Stark County.
“Being a SoleMate was a great experience! It was a privilege for me to be able to run—which I love to do—and raise funds for Girls on the Run,” says Lynette Schaffner, a SoleMate and assistant coach for the 2014 Orchard Hill Intermediate GOTR team. “GOTR is an amazing organization, and I would recommend that all girls, moms, and runners get involved in! “
This year, the SoleMates program will offer more incentives and perks to GOTR Stark SoleMates, through partnerships with the Pro Football Hall of Fame Marathon and the Second Sole Made in America Half Marathon. Chosen because of their similar “hyper-local” focus on Stark County, these new partnerships will allow the fundraising program to develop into an ongoing interactive community with common goals, rather than a group of individual fundraisers who each train for and run separate events.
The HOF Marathon on April 26th offers a unique fundraising opportunity for SoleMates—the 5-Person Team Relay. SoleMates will be able to join forces and work toward shared running and fundraising goals. The shorter distances—two 10k legs, two 5k legs, and a 12.2k leg—reduce the pressure that can accompany running as a solo fundraiser, while still providing the benefits of being a SoleMate.
The Second Sole Made in America Half Marathon, scheduled for November 8th, is the perfect event for those who prefer to train in the summer and fall and offers a scenic loop course along the TowPath Trail.
Both events, which are part of the Ohio Challenge Series, offer registration discounts and race-day VIP treatment for registered SoleMates—including access to a VIP finish-line tent.
Building a Community
Community is key for the SoleMates program as GOTR Stark continues to find ways to involve more local races and businesses in each season.
“We are excited that these partnerships will give our girls a glimpse into how their local running community is behind them,” says Charity Stewart, GOTR Stark Development Director and former SoleMate. “It’s not just the individual SoleMates wanting them to be empowered, but entire events willing to offer the opportunities that will allow the girls a chance to realize their full potential.”
Asking SoleMates to focus on one of the local partnered events helps to form a community, much like GOTR girls do each season. SoleMates can participate in group training runs, weekly meet-ups, yoga and cross training events, the private online training group, as well as community service projects. And, discounts from local businesses such as The Yoga Place and DWFit offer SoleMates additional chances to train together and build lasting relationships within the community.
Each SoleMate also receives an updated welcome kit, complete with a personalized fundraising webpage, training programs developed by Jenny Hadfield, and fundraising ideas and tips.
“I am excited for the new SoleMates season,” says Jenny Van Buren, co-chair of the SoleMates program & returning SoleMate. “It’s about fun, running, and life lessons, and I’ve learned so much more about Girls on the Run since last year.”
Join the SoleMates Team
This spring, GOTR Stark is expecting to reach at least 800 third through eighth grade girls through more than 50 programs, which means a growing need for scholarships. SoleMates are a critical part of fulfilling this need.
If you’re interested in supporting GOTR Stark, while pursuing your own health and fitness goals, please contact Charity Stewart at email@example.com or visit www.GOTRStarkCty.org for more information.
To see how you can get involved, please visit us at: GOTRStarkCty.org
Girls on the Run of Stark County is a nonprofit 501(c)3 on a mission to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running.
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