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!