Wanted: A Few Good Running Buddies

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by Amity Justice, Special to the Roundup

For the first time ever, Payson will host a 5K at Green Valley Park on Saturday, Nov. 2 for the Girls on the Run (GOTR) program.

But the girls running need help. They each need a running buddy. If you don’t know what that is, read on to find out what, when, and how to volunteer.

What is a Running Buddy?

A Running Buddy runs, walks, skips or hops with a Girls on the Run girl during the Eastern Arizona Area Health Education Center (EAHEC) 5K Celebration on Saturday, Nov. 2.

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Contributed photo

Girls on the Run participants warm up to practice for their Nov. 2 5K. All they need are Running Buddies to help them make the trek, and the deadline to register as a Running Buddy is Friday, Oct. 18.

That means keeping pace with the girl, ensuring her safety and cheering her on. Share a girl’s exhilaration and excitement as she crosses the finish line of her first 5K race.

For many girls, this is the biggest challenge and greatest accomplishment of their Girls on the Run experience. One of their favorite parts is having their very own Running Buddy by their side.

The goal of Girls on the Run is for the girls to do their best and have fun. Girls are not encouraged to race competitively, but are encouraged to reach their own goals. For most girls that’s making it to the finish line — whether by walking, running or skipping.

What are the requirements?

• A volunteer must be 16 years or older by Nov. 2.

• New and returning Running Buddies must consent to a background check if not related to the GOTR participant.

• Running buddies will be responsible for completing their own background check using the company Web site provided by GOTR National. GOTRNA will be invoiced for the background check, Running Buddies will not have to pay for this service or provide any type of payment information.

• Running Buddies are asked to make a $25 contribution for their 5K registration which includes a T-shirt.

• Running buddies must be female unless they are related or school staff of the GOTR participant.

• Families are strongly urged to participate.

• Family members do need to register as a Running Buddy.

For more information on the requirements, please contact Amity Justice at amity.justice@girlsontherun.org or call (928) 978-1391.

What are some of the qualities of a Running Buddy?

Buddies are fun-loving, patient and supportive, and they enjoy spending time with youth and have the ability to run or power walk a 5K.

Do Running Buddies have to run?

No. Running Buddies do not have to run. Running Buddies may be of all fitness abilities, but they must be able to complete a 5K.

How often do Running Buddies volunteer?

Being a Running Buddy is a one-time volunteer commitment, yet many Running Buddies come back year after year. It’s one of the most fun volunteering opportunities out there.

How do I become a Running Buddy?

• Register online by Friday, Oct. 18, a link to registration is on the GOTR Web site: www.gotrea.org.

• Be available on Nov. 2 for the Girls on the Run 5K at Green Valley Park in Payson, Ariz. The race begins at 10 a.m., but Running Buddies must arrive by 9 a.m. in order to be matched up with their buddy.

• Read and sign required training materials that will be e-mailed directly to the volunteer. If you would like to run with a specific girl, list your girl’s name when you register. Organizers need to be able to identify which girls need to be paired with a community runner so parents/ relatives are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

• What if I just want to run the race? Racers can register for the EAHEC Girls on the Run 5K Celebration as a community participant and not be assigned as a running buddy. The registration fee of $25 will help sustain the GOTR program in Gila, Graham and Greenlee Counties for future seasons and show support to all the GOTR/Girls on Track participants.

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