by Ruth Rainero
In the summer of 2014, Angela Broad and I, both serving as Impala Board members, began developing an initiative for the team to give back to the community at large. Our sentiment was that, although the team has donated to various worthy causes over the years, we've never piloted and completed a project that would share our many resources with the community.
We rolled out the program in September, 2015, holding 10-week sessions in the fall and spring. (see Winter 2016 newsletter for fall semester recap) We had much less attrition spring semester, were better organized ourselves, and were all very sorry to say goodbye to these junior runners whom we'd become so fond of. Workouts were held on Wednesday afternoons, usually on the asphalt play yard, but occasionally we'd take the girls to nearby Pelaga Park. Each session included warm-up drills, tag games, a 10-minute run or relays, cool down, and stretching.
Both semesters culminated in a 5k race in Golden Gate Park organized by GOTR (Girls On The Run). We were proud of the eleven girls who, together with five of their teachers and a herd of Impalas, ran the May GOTR.
Although Angela and I spearheaded the program, we couldn't have done it without the support of so many of our fabulous teammates. Many Impalas volunteered for the Wednesday afternoon workouts, even if they could only show up once or twice, and a core group signed up for numerous sessions in the spring semester.
I'd like to give a shout-out here to Impalas who went above and beyond in making the program successful.
Looking ahead to the longevity of the program, we have made strides helping secure MLK school as one of the sites for GOTR. The GOTR program has their own curriculum; workouts take place 2x/week for 75 minutes over 10 weeks, with 3 coaches per workout. Although GOTR generally requires coaches to commit to both workouts every week, we've been given permission for each volunteer to sign up for 1 workout per week. We are cautiously optimistic that this will ensure the MLK program will not only continue, but thrive. We hope that Impalas will continue to support the program, too. We look forward to forming an alliance with GOTR, a step that will hopefully open up more avenues (outside of MLK) for Impalas to serve as roll-models, mentors, spokespersons, etc. to young girls. An all-women's running team + a young girls running development program = a win-win for all.