I have entered foreign territory. More so than decorating cupcakes with first graders or taking kindergartners to second graders on a trip through the orchard and teaching them to make applesauce or even talking to thousands of people as the keynote speaker, I am totally out of my depth. I have committed to being a Girls on the Run coach here in Aurora. My job is to hang out with 8 girls ranging from third to fifth grade and another coach I had never met. Now I realize this doesn’t sound like it would be much out of the realm of all the previously mentioned scenarios, but it is. The truth is I love running nearly as much as I love being a mom, a wife, and  the executive director of The Leadership Center. The further the distance, especially on a trail in the woods with lots of hills, is a dream for me. Especially when it’s just me, my running shoes, and a good audible book. The idea of mixing running and energetic elementary girls kind of scares me on lots of levels. Pssst…did I mention I am a mom of boys? One biological and 12 exchange students. So my fear is a bit justified. Fear of the unknown, loud volumes, or just not knowing the answers didn’t keep me  from my duties. I went to Aurora Elementary School to meet Daring Denise and eight incredible girls to kick off the Aurora Girls On The Run program. Daring Denise and I are the coaches. While somewhat terrified, once things got going, it was pretty cool.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Girls on the Run Program, it is an incredible program that spans nationwide, empowering young girls by connecting them with mentors and friends with introducing them to the joy of running. Their program aims to inspire girls to be positive, confident, and healthy while teaching them how to run by prepping them to run a 5k with a mentor. Through this program, they learn healthy habits including goal setting, positive affirmations, warming up, proper form, and cool down. I have gone from tentative to a super fan in a matter of one afternoon with Daring Denise, Caring Charlotte, Tough Taryn, Terrific Tori, Koala Kaitlyn, Explorer Emersyn, Lolly Londyn, Kan Kan Kenzie, and Jolly Jilly.

I have entered foreign territory, folks. Much like stepping onto the stage to speak or finishing an ultra marathon, I have discovered another incredible love. It is an honor to be able to come alongside these incredible young ladies and help them discover the depth of their strength and the width of growth in their abilities through running and friendship.

Here’s to a great adventure,

Miles Maile, GOTR Coach-Aurora



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