I was looking for a 5k to race in advance of the Portland Sea Dogs Mother's Day 5K, and of course, found a handful to choose from for this past weekend. There was one in Gorham, Kennebunk, Indian Island, and Waterville, and possibly others. I know this might not sound very bright, but I chose one that was an hour and a half drive from home.
Hardy Girls Healthy Women (HGHW), in collaboration with the Colby Volunteer Center of Colby College, organized a 5K Fun Run and Walk to benefit the Hardy Girls organization. I've known about this Waterville-based organization for a few years and have done an educational workshop with them. I like what they do and that's where I wanted to put my money, effort and time.
HGHW has a vision that "all girls and women experience equality, independence, and safety in their everyday lives." They've developed a notion that in order to achieve the above, there need to be hardiness zones - environments, attitudes, actions - that promote healthy growth. Their work includes outreach and direct service, education, training, research and writing, and in general, leadership of a movement to challenge the status quo that tells girls and women that they need to look and act a certain way to have power. If you've looked at a magazine ad or television show or girls' clothing department lately, you know what I'm talking about, and it's all a lie!
As a mother of a daughter and a coach of adolescents, I want to do all I can to empower these young people without continuing the myth. It's hard work; we're up against a massive machine. But as runners we know all about perseverance and determination, and, how to put our money where our mouth is.
So next time you're looking for a race, think about the cause or the beneficiary or the organization behind it, and decide if it's something you support.