SoleMate Spotlight - 2017 NYC Marathon: Danielle Vereb

We're shining a special spotlight on our 2017 TCS New York City Marathon SoleMate, Danielle Vereb! Danielle is a mother of two, and running her third marathon for Girls on the Run NYC & NJ North.

Why did you decide to be a SoleMate for the NYC Marathon and fundraise for Girls on the Run?
I always thought how amazing it would be to have the opportunity to run in the NYC marathon. The opportunity came, and it is such a wonderful opportunity to fundraise and support these young girls! I feel so blessed!

What does the Girls on the Run mission mean to you?
It means so much! I'm so happy and honored to be a positive role model and support system for our youth.

Tell us about your marathon history:
I ran the Philly Marathon when I was 29, NJ Marathon when I was 43, and when I run NYC, I will be 44.

What is your favorite place to run?
Since we have two small boys, and work and life schedules are crazy, I'm a bit limited. Usually I run right out my front door - same routes sometimes, but also just set out randomly. I like the adventure of not knowing. My husband is supportive and will come get me if needed.

And your favorite time of day to run?
Usually earlier in the day because it's so hot right now. It doesn't always work that way. Also, I do sometimes have to take a child or tow with me (they are 4 and 7, and not so light anymore).

Favorite post-run snack/meal?
Depends, usually takes a while for my stomach to settle. If I had to say, Wasa crackers with PB and a protein shake or juice protein shake.

Tell us about your jams! Favorite pump-up running song?
I don't usually listen to music, I kind of enjoy the silence. Although on long runs, either The Doors, The Rolling Stones, or the Moby station on Pandora.

When you get tired, what makes you keep running?
I do think of the heartache that has occurred in my life, it does motivate me to push thru and be stronger. I also think of tragedy in general, or even someone that struggles physically or mentally. I realize how lucky I am to be physically and mentally fit. I am very grateful for that!

Tell us a little bit about your running history!
I ran a bit of track in high school, and ran a bit in my 20's. At the start of my fitness career I decided to run a marathon (Philly) in honor of my grandma who could barely walk due to arthritis in both knees. I then started to train, running 1 mile and raising about $3,000 to support the Arthritis Foundation. Running has helped me heal my mind in many ways, and has kept me focused through the years! It's all history from there.

What do you do besides running to keep yourself healthy, confident and joyful?
I'm a fitness trainer, yoga & pilates instructor. I weight lift (full body) two days a week at least and pilates/hot yoga one day a week each on top of training and the classes I teach for work. We have been hiking with the boys too since they are getting a little bigger now; we love incorporating nature into our lives - it brings grounding & peace.

Any other fun facts you want to share?
We enjoy camping, and most outdoor activities.

What words of encouragement would you share with a girl starting with Girls on the Run?
You can do and be whatever you put you're energy towards! Always have faith and focus!

Any fundraising tips for fellow SoleMates?
I printed out cards and flyers with my picture, link, and a short description of my venture.

Thank you for all your support of Girls on the Run, Danielle! If you want to donate to Danielle's fundraising efforts, click here.

SoleMate Spotlight: 'SoleSisters' Krystal & Jackie

We're shining a special spotlight on our 2017 TCS New York City Marathon 'SoleSister' SoleMates, Krystal Shannon & Jackie Cassidy! This will be Krystal's fifth and Jackie's fourth marathon.

Why are you a SoleMate for the NYC Marathon, fundraising for Girls on the Run?

Krystal: A few years ago, I was a running buddy for Girls on the Run and personally saw the benefits of the program. It was such a touching experience and I want to help more girls have the opportunity to be a part of the phenomenal program.

Jackie: I believe in Girls on the Run's mission and working on becoming a coach this spring at a middle school that I work in.

What does the Girls on the Run mission mean to you? 

Krystal: I truly believe in empowering girls to seek the best version of themselves! Through running, the girls learn to push themselves, gain confidence and achieve goals.

Jackie: Girls on the Run's mission is personal. Growing up, I wasn't a confident young girl and would have really enjoyed and benefited - both physically and emotionally - from the activities that focus on building confidence and character. I am so excited to not only fundraise for Girls on the Run to provide this opportunity for a young girl, but also to coach them to help them grow into their own.  

And now, a few rapid fire questions for the sisters... Favorite place to run?

Krystal: Around my neighborhood with my girlfriends or husband.
Jackie: Any place with hills.

Favorite time of day to run?

Krystal: Early morning runs starting between 4:30 and 5.
Jackie: Morning.

Favorite post-run snack/meal?

Krystal: Chocolate milk and fruit.
Jackie: Eggs - scrambled or hard boiled.

Group or solo run?

Krystal: Group
Jackie: Group - I joined my local Girls on the Run SoleMate team (Greenville, SC).

Tell us a little bit about your running history!

Krystal: I started training for my first race, the Cooper River Bridge 10K in 2008. While I was training, I fell in love with running. I have completed about 30 races ranging from 5k to 50k. My early morning runs are my favorite way to start my morning. It is my time to prepare for the day ahead of me. I love that every run is a new challenge and gives me a sense of accomplishment.

Jackie: All I can say is my sister made me do it. I was never a runner until my sister "made" me sign up for a half marathon after my nephew was born 7 years ago. After that, she convinced my to do the Disney Marathon. I have to admit, I was hooked after that and completed two Chicago marathons. Unfortunately, due to injuries I hung up my shoes and focused on other activities. Despite this, Krystal convinced me to enter the lottery for the NYC Marathon and the rest is history, or at least it will be.

What do you do besides running to keep yourself healthy, confident and joyful?

Krystal: As part of my cross training, I attend a free workout group called FiA (Females in Action). It is a wonderful group of supportive women who lift each other up and end each workout with a devotion. FiA keep me physically, socially and spiritually healthy. Being a stay at home mom and raising my 3 children, add so much joy to my life and keeps me really busy. In my spare time, (which is very little) I love to read and travel.

Any other fun facts you want to share?

Jackie: I have never been to NYC so I'll be checking off two bucket list items that weekend! I'll be sharing this experience with my sister. Our mom is joining us in NYC and we are going to celebrate the last month I'll be in my 20's. :)  

What words of encouragement would you share with a girl starting with Girls on the Run?

Krystal: Believe in yourself and your abilities, and with hard work and determination, you WILL reach your goals. It is essential to surround yourself with supportive people that will lift you up and help you overcome obstacles.

Jackie: Be proud of yourself. The hardest part is getting your shoes on. With every step you are closer to your goal. 

Any fundraising tips for fellow SoleMates?

Krystal: Be creative. Think about what ways, ideas or events you would support. Use social media to share the benefits of the program and how the donations are used.

Jackie: Talk to as many people as possible and partner with other philanthropic organizations.

Thank you for all your support of Girls on the Run, Krystal & Jackie! If you want to donate to Krystal & Jackie's fundraising efforts, click here.

SoleMate Spotlight - 2017 NYC Marathon: Jaime Hirsh

We're shining a special spotlight on our 2017 TCS New York City Marathon SoleMate, Jaime Hirsh! We are excited that Jaime, a Utah resident, has chosen to run her first marathon with Girls on the Run NYC.

Why did you decide to be a SoleMate for the NYC Marathon and fundraise for Girls on the Run?
I liked the idea of fundraising to run the marathon, but I didn’t really have a specific idea who for. I found SoleMates on the NYC marathon fundraising info page and it felt like the right organization. As a woman working in the outdoor industry among some of the most active people out there, but personally limited by a variety of injuries and conditions, the values promoted by the program are along the lines of my personal worldview and, luckily for me, experience.

What does the Girls on the Run mission mean to you?
Getting out there, and using your body, not so much to ‘win’ but as a vessel for personal growth.

Favorite place to run?
In the mountains! Though been doing much more road running lately... because, y'know, marathon training.

Favorite time of day to run?
Sunset.

Favorite running accessory?
Patagonia Strider running shorts that have FIVE POCKETS!!!

Favorite pump-up running song?
I’m a sucker for Eye of the Tiger.

Group or solo run?
Usually solo, but a good group run every now & then is lots of fun!

What shoes do you run in?
Altra Torins. I’m pretty loyal to zero drop shoes, and these are an option with cushioning. Best of both worlds.

When you get tired, what makes you keep running?
My mantra is “If you want the things you say you want, this is when you need to run."

Tell us a little bit about your running history!
I have not been able to run for most of my adult life, due to an accident in my early 20s. I had a knee replacement a few years ago, and I knew that with my new knee there was a very good chance I’d be able to run again. My goal from before I scheduled the surgery was to rehab into running into marathon training. For me, this four-month official training program is the home stretch of what has been an epic three-year plan. Check out my fundraising page for the full story!

What do you do besides running to keep yourself healthy, confident and joyful?
Skiing is one of the great loves of my life. I also bike (road & mountain), hike, camp, and backpack. I’ve been learning to backcountry ski this year, and it is without a doubt one of the most humbling and rewarding pursuits I’ve taken up yet.

Any other fun facts you want to share?
I’m really good at Scrabble. Also, I eat too much cheese.

What words of encouragement would you share with a girl starting with Girls on the Run?
Have fun, & be grateful!! Even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard.

Share your fundraising tips for fellow SoleMates & those interested in being a SoleMate!
I think I’ve been successful because I am personally very passionate about this, and though I am not a particularly bubbly person, I am usually bubbling over with enthusiasm on things I am passionate about. So when I talk about marathon training and Girls on the Run and broach the subject of fundraising, it is very organic. It's less "asking for money" and more “here is this thing that I am so excited about and hey guess what by helping me and this awesome organization you can be a part of it too!"

Thank you for all your support of Girls on the Run, Jaime! If you want to donate to Jaime's fundraising efforts, click here. You can also follow Jaime's journey to the marathon via her Instagram - @jaimehirsh.

5k Superhero Spotlight: Rachel Cohen

Today we shine the spotlight on Rachel Cohen, who will run/walk/skip the Girls on the Run end-of-season 5k and raise funds to support participants in our program!

Why did you decide to become a Superhero Runner for the Spring 5k and fundraise to support Girls on the Run?

I learned about GOTR from my college roommate, who started coaching with GOTR in her hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota last year. I loved the mission and approach – empowering young women through athletics and teamwork resonated right away for me – so I knew I wanted to get involved. My work schedule doesn’t allow me to coach right now, so I thought running the Spring 5K would be a great way to deepen my involvement and support the organization.

From there, the fundraising part is easy – I believe in the organization, so I was excited to let friends and family know about GOTR and to ask for their support. I also think it’s important to remember that every donation makes a difference, and that it’s all of our support together that makes it work.

What does the Girls on the Run mission mean to you? 

I loved athletics from a young age and always played sports growing up. Being surrounded by a group of young women who felt, like I did, that being strong and driven is something cool for girls made a big difference in my life. That is an attitude I have had since, and it has increased my self-confidence and drive to succeed in athletics and in my professional life.

Being active and being part of an active community makes me feel stronger, happier, and more confident, and I think that’s what GOTR is all about. Helping girls find that at a young age will only make the next generation of women stronger, and empower them to make a difference in their communities and the world.

What do you think makes someone a Superhero?

I have been really lucky to have a number of women in my life who I think of as Superheroes, and in honor of Mother’s Day I’d have to start with my own mom and grandmothers. They are all extremely hard-working women, but also very humble. My grandma Toby overcame cancer multiple times in her life, my grandma Babs is still active in her community – from painting to politics – at age 89, and my mom has been working as a doctor taking care of newborn babies for 30 years. They are strong women who have shown me that I can do anything I want in my life if I work toward my goals. Heroes get the job done but they don’t brag about it, they are the often-quiet leaders who make a difference in their families and communities, even if they don’t get – or even want – all the credit.

Tell us a little bit about your running history!

I played sports growing up but was never a runner until I got to college and started playing ultimate Frisbee. It involves a lot of running, so our team ran to get into shape for long days of competition. When our team wasn’t practicing together, I started taking runs through my neighborhood after class, and realized it was an amazing way to clear my head and get to know my surroundings.

When I met my husband Colin about five years ago, I had to amp up my running game! He is a military veteran who was serving in the Army at the time so he ran almost every day, and I had to learn to keep up! We started running together on our off days and have been doing so ever since. I still like to run alone from time to time, but I also enjoy running with others, pushing each other and having fun together.

What do you do to keep yourself healthy, confident and joyful?

In addition to runs in Prospect Park, I love to bike and walk around my neighborhood in Brooklyn and in new areas of the City. I find walking, jogging, and biking a great way to explore new places – and find new things to love in places I already know. I am trained as an urban planner, so I’m fascinated by how different all the neighborhoods of New York City are, and all the vibrancy or our streets, parks, and public spaces. Passing through on foot is a great way to experience that, and something that makes my active time really joyful. I also love to run, bike, and lift weights with my husband – we like to work out together to spend time together, and we push each other without being too competitive!

Any fun facts you want to share?

I’m 5 months pregnant, expecting my first child in the fall! I can’t wait to teach a child to be active as part of a happy, healthy lifestyle. Colin and I can’t wait until we can take our little family running and biking through Prospect Park and on other outdoor adventures around New York City.

Staying active through my pregnancy has helped me stay strong and positive, and so far I feel great. I do hope everyone will forgive me if I’m a little slow during the 5k! 

*GOTR team note: Our 5k is all about going at your own pace and having fun!

What words of encouragement would you share with a girl participating in her first 5k?

First off, you are way ahead of the curve – I ran my first 5K in college! – so be proud of yourself for taking on this challenge. And of course, enjoy the run. Races are a great way to get together with your friends and community, and the energy of being surrounded by a big group of people all working toward the same goal is awesome. Take it all in and have fun!

Thank you for all your support of Girls on the Run, Rachel! If you want to donate to Rachel's fundraising efforts, click here.

5k Superhero Spotlight: Carissa Schreiber

Today we shine the spotlight on Carissa Schrieber! Carissa will run/walk/skip the Girls on the Run end-of-season 5k and raise funds to support participants in our program!

Why did you decide to become a Superhero Runner for the Spring 5k and fundraise to support Girls on the Run?

I've been working with GOTR since college, where I was a Gamma Phi Beta sister. When I moved to New York, I didn't know many people, so GOTR was a great way for me to join a community and be productive at the same time. Working with the program has actually inspired me to re-introduce myself to fitness and working out, so the 5k ended up being both a fitness goal and a fundraising goal for me.

What does the Girls on the Run mission mean to you?

For me, Girls on the Run is all about empowering young women and giving them actual tools to accomplish goals. While there are a lot of wonderful movements and messages supporting the fact that girls can do anything they want to do, the Girls on the Run program puts that into action. I think giving the girls a concrete goal and showing them how to reach it helps build a positive and productive mindset for everything they go on to do. My two young sisters are both very confident, and I love that we can spread that attitude.

What do you think makes someone a Superhero?

As someone who's into comics, I have so many answers to this! But the most important quality for a real-life superhero, I think, is simply being a reliable force of good. From teachers to police officers to activists, there are so many people who work tirelessly to make the world better in some way. 

Tell us a little bit about your running history!

I only recently got into running, mostly due to my work with GOTR and my unwillingness to pay for a gym membership in the city. The thing I really have come to appreciate about running is how conducive it is to setting concrete goals. It's easy to see your progress and that helps keep me motivated.

What do you do to keep yourself healthy, confident and joyful?

For me, occasional self-indulgence is the key to both my physical and mental health. While I love a lot of healthy foods and activities, sometimes I just need to get that chocolate cake or spend an entire Saturday on the couch (or both). It's easier for me to make healthy choices when I do feel like they are choices rather than obligations.

Any fun facts you want to share?

My home life revolves around my sweet cat, Minerva (although she always looks at me funny when I come back from a run).

What words of encouragement would you share with a girl participating in her first 5k?

You have worked hard to get here, and you made it! When you hit that finish line, know that you have earned it--no one else could do it for you or give it to you. It's an accomplishment that belongs to you.

Thank you, Carissa! If you want to help with Carissa's fundraising efforts, click here.