Color Run 2015 San Francisco

SheJumps and Bret Harte Middle School Girls’ Run Club – Color Run 2015 San Francisco

Written by: Chelsea Marie Hill

Pink! Blue! Yellow! Green….and gray?! Gray? After three months of training for the San Francisco Color Run, we awoke to a sky that was frighteningly lacking any color. Alarms clocks were ringing and girls were bundling up despite a downpour across the East Bay. The rain pounded, but my heart pounded even harder. As I packed the girls’ SheJumps tanks, snacks for the volunteers, and began coordinating parking and race details, I wondered, “will this turn out to be the first official Color Triathlon, as we try to SWIM our way through the race?”

I didn’t predict that by 8:00am the sun would be blazing and the girls would be beaming in anticipation of the chaos and color that was about to commence.

Thousands gathered at AT&T Park, wearing everything from sneakers and shorts to tutus and banana costumes! The girls sported braided hair, bandanas, knee highs, and eyes that were lit up with disbelief as they prepared to become a pieces of art. They were about to be transformed into a collage of color. Volunteers paired up with each Bret Harte Middle Schooler, to ensure that no one was left behind! “I had an absolute blast running with the Bret Harte Middle School girls. Their excitement and positive attitudes made my day! It was so great to see young girls outdoors!” exclaimed race-day volunteer, Cassie Chaoƨ. This race was not about speed. The color run was about encouragement and enthusiasm for living brightly!

The past three months of training had a similar focus as well. Jessie Hughes and myself (Chelsea Hill) have been coaching the Bret Harte Middle School Girls Run Club alongside counselor Mary Deggelman. Each week SheJumps took the girls through empowerment activities focused on creating teamwork and building self-esteem. The activities challenged their communication skills, strategy, attention, focus, patience, and more. We also guided the girls through strength building exercises, such as squats, lunges, stretching, and stability, speed, agility, flexibility, and coordination. It was an honor to see the girls become a team through overcoming challenges and sharing personal fears and triumphs. Coaching with Jessie and Mary was such a treat as well – the three of us women became closer in guiding the young girls through running skills and trust challenges, empowerment games, team building activities, and strength training!

Photo credit: Beatriz Miravete

The girls ran inside AT&T Park on the field, then along the Piers and back into the stadium! Running alongside the girls and witnessing their actual race was more thrilling than getting covered head to toe in paint! Seeing the girls faces and feet change when they would see each other along the race course was the absolute best part. They would spot a fellow Bret Harte Girl Run Club member or classmate and immediately start smiling and running harder! They were so encouraging and cheered each of their teammates with every passing!

Photo credit: Beatriz Miravete

“One of the best things was seeing it all through their eyes – feeling the rush of a first race: the excitement crossing the finish line, knowing they really accomplished what they set out to do. It’s awesome to witness possibility turning into reality, goals turning into accomplishments, and girls learning the rewards of not only hard work and perseverance, but aspiration and belief in themselves,” explained Catie Franklin, race-day volunteer and marathoner. “I’m gonna make it! I’ve never done this before, but it’s so fun! I hope my two baby sisters run with me next year!” -Aliyah (Bret Harte Middle School)

Photo credit: Beatriz Miravete

At the end, the girls were tearing open their glitter packets and celebrating by hugging and splattering paint on themselves, the volunteers, and all three of us coaches! They literally created a colorful human collage! “Let’s be honest, the real best part was parting with the young girls at the end!” laughed Franklin, “I think it really built camaraderie amongst them.” They were a giant team, united in chaos of color, sweat, smiles, and laughter. In the mess, they created magic and art. They we’re not just a club of runners, they were friends. My heart was exploding more than the color bombs!

Photo credit: Beatriz Miravete

Photo credit: Beatriz Miravete

Featured image photo credit: Beatriz Miravete

#california #running #youthinitiatives #pacificcoast #sanfrancisco

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