We are thrilled to share that our very own SoleMate, Mary Calhoun, was the first-place finisher at the recent DIVAS Special Edition Half Marathon in Temecula, CA!
Spring Intern Regan caught up with returning SoleMate, Mary Calhoun, about her latest (and greatest!) half marathon. Read on to learn more about this incredible runner who inspires with every stride:
How did you become involved with Girls on the Run?
I moved to San Diego and was looking for a way to get involved with my community. I have been a runner since my early twenties. Running has been one of the most positive decisions that I have ever made and continue to make. I thought it would be great to showcase this to young girls so they could see their own potential.
What do you love about Girls on the Run?
I love GOTR for what it represents to young women. It teaches girls to work to accomplish something that may have seemed unattainable. GOTR has been studied to positively improve youth development in these young women. A better self image, work ethic, and community involvement make for an improved society. I love that this program is nationwide and available to all girls!
Why did you decide to become a SoleMate?
I decided to become a SoleMate because it puts my love of running alongside my desire to help young women. I love being apart of a team of people that truly believe in this program.
Your latest race was the DIVAS Special Edition Half Marathon in Temecula. How did training go for this race?
Training went great! I’m always training, so there is no real start or finish. But you can’t train for everything - especially the mud! Training is all about consistency. The more you train, the more you get to know about yourself!
Did you have any challenges while training?
There are always challenges! But the payoff of training always outways the opposite. You get to think - ‘wow, that was not fun or easy, but I did it and did well!’. Injuries can happen but they don’t mean that you’re finished. And that’s what we are teaching these girls, really. Life gets hard, and that’s when you need to keep your spirits up and work through it. Running can bring out a person's inner strength that shines through when tested.
What advice do you have for others who are considering being a SoleMate?
Just do it! You get to be apart of something really fun! Running can feel like a very solitary sport - well, it doesn’t feel like that - it mostly IS that. But being a SoleMate means that you are on a team that wants to see the best for these young women.
What has been your favorite moment of your running career?
The first time I ever ran a mile as an adult. It took me weeks to finally do it. I never thought I could actually do that one lap around this park in St. Louis where I lived close by. I would get winded, my legs ached, and I felt like everybody (all the squirrels in the trees) were laughing at me. But I just kept trying, despite the committee of doubters in my head. Finally, I looked down at my monitor and saw “completed, 1 mile”. As soon as that mental hump was overcome, I knew I could do anything as long as I stuck to it. If I kept getting back out there and working. I still apply that to my everyday, especially in running. The techniques have improved, but the attitude has stayed the same since that first mile. Keep working, and keep moving.
Do you have any tips to share with new SoleMates on hitting their minimums?
First - believe in GOTR and what it does for girls. From there, it’s easy! Just ask! Share how GOTR has helped both YOU and the community. Your friends, colleagues, family will feel what you feel and it will become infectious to get involved. Let them know that no girl has ever been turned down due to finances because of how the community has supported this program.
We are especially grateful to our partners, Divas Half Marathon & 5K series for donating entries to this year's race. Thanks to their generous gift, SoleMates like Mary are able to raise even more funds to allow us to impact more girls in San Diego County.
Feeling inspired by Mary's story? Learn more about being a Girls on the Run San Diego SoleMate on our SoleMates page.