Today we're shining a spotlight on Samantha, a SoleMate who's running in the TCS New York City Marathon while also raising funds for GOTR programming! Samantha, we are so excited to see you at the Marathon and we are grateful for your support to help us reach more girls!
What does the Girls on the Run mission mean to you?
I am all about building confidence and understanding oneself and love that GOTR integrates social skills and running to do so.
Why did you decide to be a SoleMate for the NYC Marathon and fundraise for Girls on the Run?
As I have already mentioned- running has always been my outlet and my way of tapping into my inner confidence when I was having trouble accessing it. I love the fact that GOTR integrates physical activity with lessons designed to encourage girls to develop social skills that will be helpful to them as they enter into a difficult period (socially and emotionally) of their lives. I have always wanted to be a coach for this program however, due to conflicts with my school/work schedules, have never been able to do so and I couldn't think of a better way to be part of this program than through being a SoleMate- it gives me the opportunity to support an organization that hits close to home while doing the one thing I love to do!
Tell us a little bit about your running history! Why do you run?
I started running in middle school for many different reasons. Like many girls at that age, I was starting to face the woes of middle school friendships and changes and needed an outlet to work through the anxiety and stress I was experiencing and to clear my mind and build confidence. I have continued to use running as my stress-reliever- whether its stress related to work, relationships or just general anxiety that I experience on a day to day basis.
Favorite place to run? Or Favorite pump-up running song?
My favorite place to run would have to be Central Park- as much as I hate all the hills. Not only is it the best place to people watch (which helps pass the time on longer runs) but it also has the most variety in terms of trails and paths to run along. In regards to a favorite pump up song, I don't really have one specific song I turn to on every run. I more so have certain songs that help me through different parts of my runs. Hills: Reaper by Sia; Pacing: Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen & 'Till I Collapse by Eminem.
Is this your first marathon? If no, how many have you run?
This is my second marathon; specifically my second go at NYC.
If people could give you energy awards while you were running the marathon which would you want for an energy boost?
Goldfish crackers & salt packets! And a high-five or two!
What do you do besides running to keep yourself healthy, confident, and joyful?
As a social worker, I have come to love the term "self-care" and try my best to invest time in this everyday. While a run is usually my go-to for this, I also use spending time with my friends/family, watching TV, baking and listening to music.
Who do you look up to?
My cousin Kim- who is also a GOTR SoleMate and the reason I started running in the first place. Kim got me to go on my first long run with her in Middle School while she was training for another race and has been encouraging me to keep on running ever since. Kim has been the sister I've never had my whole life and I am always inspired by her positivity, ability to keep going and most of all, her strength. She continues to inspire me everyday and I am so happy to have someone to take on this marathon with.
Who has impacted your life the most and encouraged you to be your beautiful, healthy, and courageous self?
I am lucky enough that there have been many people along the way that have impacted my life. Most importantly though are my parents and brother. My parents have always been my number one supports and have always encouraged me to just be me, always. My brother is always reminding me to stop worrying and has always encouraged me to stick with what I believe, no matter if it sets me apart from everyone else. I am lucky to also have my boyfriend, Rob, who has been a huge support ever since he walked into my life. Rob has never let me quit, always reminds me of my strength and well, makes me, me.
Any fundraising tips for fellow SoleMates?
I've found it helpful to make fundraising personal- tell your story and the reasons why you are supporting the organization. I also put together a fundraising event (I did a Sunday Funday Happy Hour) that helped bring family/friends together to fundraise for this great organization!
What words of encouragement would you share with a girl starting with Girls on the Run?
Be true to yourself and use this program as a foundation to help build on the confidence you already have within yourself.
What advice would you give yourself at 10 years old?
Stop sweating the small stuff and try, as much as possible, to be true to your silly, anxious and determined self.
Thank you for all your support of Girls on the Run, Samantha! If you want to donate to Samantha's fundraising efforts, click here.