Each year Girls on the Run of Stark County receives several requests for men to run the women-only Girls on the Run 5k. In celebration of their 5th year in Stark County, the advisory board decided to make that possible. Just one man would be allowed to run the 2014 Girls on the Run 5k Run/Walk.
To make this opportunity available to more “GOTR guys” in 2015, Girls on the Run changed the event from an auction to a competitive fundraising event through an online fundraiser in which contenders can raise funds from multiple sources to support his attempt to earn the title of SoleMale. In addition to the grand tier of the title SoleMale and opportunity to run in the 5k, leveled reward tiers are awarded to all participants based on the amount raised. Announced at the closing event, all SoleMale fundraiser participants will be allowed to participate as course first responders, running the course in reverse to make sure all girls are accounted for and doing well.
This year, five men from Stark County competed for the role:
Chris Henson, a Jackson Township GOTR dad, led the pack with $4,316 in donations.
Joseph Bogdan, an East Canton teacher and GOTR dad, raised $1,789 for GOTR Stark.
Kevin Walsh, a Jackson High School teacher, Cross Country head coach, and GOTR dad, raised $1620 for GOTR Stark.
Eric Whittington, a Canal Fulton resident, GOTR coach, and co-owner of Brimstone Bicycles, raised over $300.
Scott Smith, a Plain Township GOTR dad, also participated in the fundraising event, bringing the total for the event to $8,090.
Chris Henson will run the GOTR 5k as the only male participant with his oldest two daughters (and newly crowned SuperGirls), Emma (11) and Sarah (9). Henson wrote on his fundraising page, “As a runner, I'm committed to the importance of exercise in my own life and ensuring I impart the importance to my children.”
About Girls on the Run of Stark County Established in 2009, Girls on the Run of Stark County (GOTR Stark) began its positive youth development program with 24 third- through fifth-grade girls at 3 schools. Through interactive activities such as running, playing games, and discussing important issues, the girls learn how to celebrate being girls and to honor their own voices. This year, GOTR Stark is serving nearly 700 girls through more than 45 programs offered throughout Stark County, Ohio.
Led by trained coaches who guide and mentor the girls through a curriculum-based program, the girls are empowered with greater self-awareness, a sense of achievement, and a foundation in team building to help them become strong, self-confident young women. Over the course of the 10-week program, the girls train together to walk, skip, or run the Girls on the Run 5k Run/Walk.
GOTR Stark is an Independent Council of Girls on the Run International, which has a network of over 200 locations across the United States and Canada.
For more information on Girls on the Run of Stark County, visit www.gotrstarkcty.org or call 330.244.9331.