On October 12, Harlem Run was happy to support Girls Gotta Run Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that invests in Ethiopian girls who use running as a tool for individual and social change. We celebrated International Day of the Girl with the classic Harlem Run 5K and invited a few different crews from New York to join us. Since the day was all about female empowerment, we had each pace group be led by special "Guest Pacers": all female Harlem Run regulars who have consistently shown their dedication to the group. Here's what our Guest Pacers had to say about #IDG5K and what it was like to lead a pace group.
Shelley - 7 Minute Group
2015 has been a rocky running year for me so far. I spent the first 6 months not running and limited walking due to a hip injury that is both persistent and not age-appropriate. I eased back into running this summer and was happy to find Harlem Run. The group somehow managed to be both friendly and low key! My running goal– a common running conversation topic – is to stay healthy and rebuild while not aggravating my hips.
When I was asked to pace the 7 minute group during the #IDG5K, I was excited and happy to be able to help, yet still concerned about the pace and my ability to lead the group. This run reminded me of the kindness of Harlem Run and the joys of a running community. Kai shared his pacing watch, tips, and ran by my side with encouragement the entire run (even when I tried to defect to the 8 minute group mid-run). The faster runners waited for me to catch up at points during the run and were waiting with high fives at the end. While I finished the run at the back of the group, the important part was feeling the love from the community that I am happy to be a part of.
Terria - 8 Minute Group
Guest pacing for Harlem Run: AWESOME! I had a great time this week as a pacer for #IDG5K! I haven't been with Harlem Run too long, but I was excited to step up this week when I was asked to guest pace. It's easy to run along and follow in a pace group so I more than enjoyed meeting the challenge of the other side of the run -- leading on the route for my 8 minute crew, keeping on pace, and showing them how the ladies run Harlem!
Eloise - 9 Minute Group
Before I started with Harlem Run I wasn’t a constant runner. I was more of a strength training person, but when I did my first 5 mile run, I fell in love! The feeling was amazing, I felt free and invisible. I had only been to Harlem twice before I joined Harlem Run which is weird because I was born and raised in NYC. Now, I love Harlem. I love the diversity of the people and how there is so many delicious places to eat and hang out. What I have experienced during the past few months has given me a completely different outlook and understanding of what women, men, and children can accomplish with their bodies no matter their age, size or body condition.
When I was asked to be a guest pacer for #IDG5K, I couldn’t believe it. I had to read it twice just to make sure that the email was for me! Being a pacer was an amazing experience; I loved running the show, lol. Many people don’t know what it's like to be recognized for the work and enthusiasm you put into something but I’m glad mycaptains saw that in me. When I joined Harlem Run in August 2015 I quickly realized that this is not just any running group... this is a beautiful movement. Being part of this new family will always be part of me no matter where I go in life and hopefully, I get to be a pacer again in the future!
Joy - 10 Minute Group
I never reflected on how large of a role pacers have played in my running journey until I stepped into the role of pacer myself. Last Monday I had my guest pacer debut with Harlem Run for the International Day of the Girl 5K. And lemme tell you... Pacing extends far beyond monitoring your GPS watch to make sure your group is hitting its target pace. Pacers craft your running experience, help you dig deep when you feel like you have absolutely nothing left, offer encouraging words and keep you safe on the run. This is the job of a pacer and I was proud to step into those large shoes for just one night.
Alma - 11 Minute Group
On the International Day of the Girl, #IDG5K, I felt so empowered because I knew I had such an important role as a guest pacer. At first, I was very nervous and every time my name was mentioned my legs would shake to the point that I thought of apologizing and backing out. However, as we started running and the adrenaline started to kick in, and my heart was pumping fast and I realized I had to deliver. At some point we were running a bit faster then our pace, but after a bit, we all synchronized.
The run was amazing because I ran with an amazing group of people who were giving each other high fives every opportunity we got. Thanks to Larry for sharing your amazingkids with us. They were a great push. Thanks a million to Raidy for believing that I was fit for the role and always being there for me. Thanks Alison for sharing your dream and your parents with us. Thanks to all of the other guest pacers, I am sure you ladies did an amazing job, And last but not least thanks to all of the rest of this amazing family of Harlem Run, I love you all.