SoleMate Spotlight: Betina Evancha

Today we shine the spotlight on Betina Evancha! Betina will run the SHAPE Half Marathon as a SoleMate for Girls on the Run NYC!

Why did you decide to become a SoleMate and fundraise to support Girls on the Run?

Running has been really important in my life, and I want more young women to be given the chance to develop that kind of joyous hobby.

Why did you decided to sign up to run the Shape Half Marathon?

I've been running a couple of half marathons a year for a while, and hope to complete the New York Marathon this fall. Helping to raise money for a great charity added another layer of awesomeness to what was already going to be a lovely race.

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

Running has been very meaningful to me as a young adult. It helps me explore a new place, and settle back in once I get home. It lets me have wonderful long conversations with a friend, or just listen to any music I want. It connects me to the city I live in, de-stresses me, and makes me feel powerful. 

It seems important to me that young women be introduced to something so wonderful as early as possible. Girls on the Run does just that!

Tell us a little bit about your running history!

I played soccer in middle school and high school, and wasn't that excited about running. But my father encouraged me to go out and run anyway, and it slowly became something I did regularly: from running to reduce stress in college to doing my favorite leafy loop at home. About five years ago, I signed up for my first half marathon, and I've since fallen in love with long distance running. There aren't that many other excuses to listen to an entire musical front to back :)

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

I love all kinds of fitness, but particularly boxing, spinning and yoga. I also play on my company's volleyball team :)

Favorite place to run in NYC?

Brooklyn Bridge in the morning, before it gets crowded.

Favorite time of day to run?

In the morning (if I can get up in time).

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

Running can be hard - don't let anyone make you think it's easy. But there's nothing better than finishing a difficult thing!

Thank you, Betina! If you want to support Betina in her fundraising efforts, you can visit her fundraising page here.

Dashing Whippets Running Team Names Girls on the Run NYC Official Charity Partner of its 2017 Dashing Whippets Track Meet

April 22, 2017 event draws runners from across tri-state area
A significant portion of the revenue of the event to be presented to GOTRNYC

            New York, N.Y. – The Dashing Whippets Running Team has announced that Girls on the Run NYC will be the Official Charity Partner to its 2017 Track Meet.  

            “We are very pleased to select Girls on the Run on the basis of its track record for success in doing such important work,” said Richard Hsieh, President of the Dashing Whippets Running Team.  

            Allison Hauser, Executive Director of Girls on the Run NYC, shared, “We are so excited that the Dashing Whippets selected Girls on the Run NYC as its charity partner.   The Dashing Whippets Track Meet will be a great event that also illustrates what we teach our girls: running is fun, empowering, and rewarding.”

            Girls on the Run inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.

            The Dashing Whippets Running Team is a competitive running team based in New York City and number 650 runners.  The 2017 Track Meet will be the Club’s 7th Track Meet. 

            The Track Meet will be held April 22, 2017 at 8:30 am, at the 6th Street East River Track, East River Park, in Manhattan.   Access is available via pedestrian bridges at East 6th Street and East 10th Street.   Registration information is available here: dashingwhippets.org/dashing-whippets-2017-track-meet/

For further information about Girls on the Run NYC, please contact:           
Allison Hauser at allison.hauser@girlsontherun.org.

For more information about the Dashing Whippets Running Team, please contact:
Matthew Wong at matthew@dashingwhippets.org.

SoleMate Spotlight: Sonali Rajan

Today we shine the spotlight on Sonali Rajan! Sonali is a long time Girls on the Run coach and supporter and will run the Brooklyn Half Marathon as a GOTR SoleMate!

Why did you decide to become a SoleMate and fundraise to support Girls on the Run?  

I have been involved with Girls on the Run for 10 years (this is my 20th season coaching)! This year I felt like I wanted to do something to bring to light the extraordinary value programs like Girls on the Run have and bring to so many kids and families both here in NYC and across the US.  I have actually never raced as a SoleMate before, so this is an exciting opportunity for me as well!   

Why did you decide to sign up to run the Brooklyn Half Marathon?  

This is one of my favorite NYRR races!  My husband (Andy) and I lived in Brooklyn for many years and this was always a great race to kick off the summer with.  I gave birth to my son (Nikhil) in August 2015, so I haven't been able to run this race in a couple of years.  This will be my first truly long distance race since then (the half-marathon is also one of my favorite distances, so I am really looking forward to this)!

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

I have said this many times, but I feel like I have learned just as much (if not more so!) from my girls at Girls on the Run as they have from us coaches.  I try, as best as I can, to model many of the Girls on the Run core values (compassion, character, connection) in my own life (and when I forget to do so, my girls are there to remind me).  

Tell us a little bit about your running history!  

I started running when I was about 13 years old with my dad (I grew up in upstate New York).  We still run together when I go home to visit, which is one of my favorite ways to spend time with him!   I then joined my high school cross-country team, which I just loved (one of my best friends (who I am actually running the Brooklyn Half with!) and I became especially close through running cross-country together).  I went to Cornell University for undergrad, which is located in Ithaca and truly one of the most beautiful places in the world.  It's also one of the hardest places to run (hilly, snowy, you name it - I've run in it)!  Another one of my very best friends and I were actually on the triathlon club team at Cornell and we used to go on these crazy long runs together all around the gorges and in insane weather - sometimes I still can't believe we used to do that!  Andy and I met at Cornell and so we used to run together then too (and up until Nikhil was born, we actually ran together quite a bit (Andy's an incredible athlete, so he's good company + motivation))!  I moved to NYC for graduate school in 2005 and have run all around this beautiful city.  To date I've done 8 marathons and countless other road races.  I ran through most of my pregnancy and while on maternity leave I would take Nikhil out in the running stroller all the time.  I'm already excited to be able to run with him when he's a little older (though he's pretty speedy - so it won't be long before I can't keep up with him)!  

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

Running is certainly an important of my happiness.  Juggling work and motherhood is tough and so I (try to!) prioritize sleep as a regular component of staying healthy.  But I can easily say that spending time with Nikhil and coaching Girls on the Run are two things that bring me enormous joy and so I feel very lucky in that regard.

Favorite place to run in NYC? 

The Reservoir and Bridle Path in Central Park (as evident by my Instagram feed :)).  It's really one of the most beautiful parts of the city.

Favorite time of day to run? 

Since becoming a parent, the best way to fit in running without losing out on too much family time is to just run as early as possible (I run with the New York Flyers now and those workouts start at 6AM)!  Ideally....an 8 or 9AM run is perfect.

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

Joining something new can feel scary and intimidating, but Girls on the Run is so unique in that it actively seeks to create a safe, welcoming, and inclusive space for all girls.  That's the beautiful part of this program.  I promise you will love it.  (Also, for those of us coaching, getting the chance to spend time with such bright, creative, hilarious, brilliant, talented girls of this age is such a joy).

Thanks, Sonali! If you want to help Sonali reach her fundraising goals, you can visit her fundraising page here!

SoleMate Spotlight: Chrissi Bernardo

Today we are shining the spotlight on Chrissi Bernardo, who supported Girls on the Run as a SoleMate runner in the NYC Half Marathon!

Why did you decide to become a SoleMate and fundraise to support Girls on the Run?

I really wanted to run the NYC Half Marathon this year, so I was looking for a charity to support and Girls on the Run's mission was the one that resonated with me the most. I'm so happy that I get to fundraise for the organization and tell people about it in the process too!

Why did you decide to run the NYC Half Marathon?

Since moving to NYC in 2015, I (not a runner yet) decided that running the NYC (full) Marathon was something that I wanted to do at some point. I've applied not only to the lotteries for the full, but for the half marathons as well. Unfortunately, I've never gotten in. This year, I decided to take my fate into my own hands by running the NYC Half with a charity. That will be 2nd out of my 9+ races this year, so that I can earn a guaranteed entry to the NYC Marathon in 2018, lottery or no lottery.

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

GOTR's mission of inspiring young girls not just to be healthy, but also confident and joyful is so important to me. I'm incredibly lucky to have 4 older sisters who guided me through the tumultuous ride of growing up as a young girl and I can definitely say that I wouldn't be the person that I am today without them.  I am so happy that Girls on the Run exists to teach and empower young girls, the same way my older sisters taught and empowered me.

Tell us a little bit about your running history!

I'm super new to running. I danced and played ultimate frisbee growing up, so all the running I did was limited to pre-dance warmups and quick bursts on the field. I've done a handful of 5Ks and a 4-miler, but the NYC Half is my first 'big' race. 

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

I love working out in general. My favorites outside of running are cycling and hot yoga. I also love going for long walks around the city to take pictures and I find that I actually get a lot of exercise that way. I could walk and take pictures and before I even realize it, 4 hours would have passed.

Favorite place to run in NYC?

Either by the East River or the reservoir in Central Park. The views never get old.

Favorite time of day to run?

Morning! I find that running early before I have to do anything else puts me in a good, focused headspace and mood that lasts the entire day. 

Any other fun facts you want to share?

Something I'm super proud of: Since committing to this new running journey, I've convinced two loved ones to join me. My friend agreed to run the Brooklyn Half with me in May and my older sister who lives in Chicago is running the Chicago Marathon in October. Neither of them have run this much before, and I'm so happy I was able to inspire them in some way.

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

Enjoy the journey! And always remember that you have the potential to do anything you put your mind to and put work towards (which is omething you'll learn during the program, I'm sure!) I'm so excited for you!

Chrissi raised close to $2,000 for Girls on the Run! Thank you, Chrissi, and congratulations on finishing the NYC Half Marathon!

SoleMate Spotlight: Lydia Gray

Today we are shining the spotlight on Lydia Gray, who ran the NYC Half Marathon as a SoleMate on behalf of Girls on the Run!

Why did you decide to become a SoleMate and fundraise to support Girls on the Run?

I truly believe in the program. I first joined as a coach for one of the homeless shelter sites and immediately saw the impact of the curriculum on these girls. The curriculum design created a sense of community, shared respect and ultimately gave them an outlet to have fun and feel good about themselves.

Why did you decide to run the NYC Half Marathon?

I love this half marathon - you feel like you are the only person in the city. You truly get to enjoy all NYC has to offer for its residents without the hustle and bustle of the normal workday.  

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

I want to be part of something that instills confidence, respect and team-building in young adolescent girls. With some many external factors that can impact the girls' confidence and respect for each other, I like the idea of creating a community to build it and maintain it throughout the rest of their schooling experience. I feel this community enables them to believe that these girls can do whatever these girls want - if they put their minds to it. Especially with the support of this community. 

Tell us a little bit about your running history!

My father runs every day so he got me hooked on the exercise. I find running is a way to gain perspective as well as a social activity with my friends. I do my best thinking when I am running!

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

I participate in various workout classes with my friends as well as try to ski and play tennis each year. I also tend to surround myself with friends who enjoy the same type of active activities.  

Favorite place to run in New York City?

West Side Highway!

Favorite time of day to run?

The morning - the view is the prettiest :) 

Any other fun facts you want to share?

I have two different color eyes - one brown and one blue.

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

The community is here to support you and help you develop the confidence, determination and respect you need to accomplish your dreams!

Lydia raised $1,600 for Girls on the Run this year! Thank you, Lydia, and congratulations on a race well run!