Posted Suzanna McCloskey on 5/5/2015 |Featured Columns & Series
This year, Girls on the Run will serve its one-millionth girl! We’re honoring this milestone by celebrating what makes each of us one in a million and by showcasing some one-in-a-million women who have made exceptional contributions to empowering girls and women.
When Katherine Slingluff, a photographer and mother of two living in Brooklyn, registered for the 2014 New York City Marathon as a SoleMates charity runner for Girls on the Run NYC, she did not know what big things would be in store for her. In true one-in-a-million style, she crossed the finish line as the one-millionth finisher in the marathon’s 44-year history and is now guaranteed entry into the race for life! We're sending a big energy award her way!
Here’s what Katherine has to share about being one in a million.
Q: Girls on the Run envisions a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams! How did you start to realize your own limitless potential and pursue the path to where you are today?
Katherine: I was always involved in team sports growing up. That foundation was a wonderful way for me to be a part of a group, working toward a common goal. It gave me a support group that encouraged my participation and enthusiasm for the task at hand. As I’ve grown, I’ve continued to look for similar group activities, like church, running groups and music, that enable me to grow as an individual while being a part of a larger community.
Q: Of the traits and achievements that help make you one-in-a-million, what stands out most to you?
Katherine: If I had to name one trait about myself that has been most beneficial throughout my life it would be my willingness to try new things and the positive attitude that goes along with that. As you get older it seems to get harder to find the time and courage to go in new directions and try new things. But I have found that if I stretch myself a bit, I’m always glad that I did, even if the outcome is not exactly as I had planned it to be.
Q: Girls on the Run believes that big things are possible when you keep moving forward. Can you share an example from your own life?
Katherine: My finish at the 2014 NYC marathon is a prime example. In the beginning of the race I was focused on trying to finish by a certain time. But as the race went along, I watched people stopping and taking pictures of the scenes and the surroundings, not caring at all about their race times. They were simply enjoying the moment. I suddenly realized that that was what I wanted to do—forget about how long it was going to take me and just enjoy the experience as a whole. Once I did that, I stopped to take pictures myself. I stopped to greet friends and give high-fives to anyone that was giving them out. In the end, I did not finish in my “goal time,” but was still rewarded for being the millionth finisher in the history of the race! Wow! So had I not stopped all those moments, then I would not have finished when I did and received that great honor. So here’s to moving forward at your own pace and enjoying the moment!
Q: One of the many things our curriculum teaches girls is how to recognize and work through challenges in productive ways. What is a challenge you have faced (or still face)? How did/do you respond, and what have you learned from it?
Katherine: My life struggle has been that I worry way to much about what other people are thinking. At times this fear of judgment and failure has prevented me from trying new things or going in new directions. I have learned over time that most of the judgment that I feel is not from others, but rather within myself. In order to change this negative thinking, I have adopted healthy habits that improve my overall sense of self. Exercise is the most important thing I do to keep myself balanced, mentally and physically!
Q: What insight or advice would you offer a young girl today? What would you say now to your 8-year-old self?
Katherine: Don’t let fear keep you from trying new things! You never know what the outcome may bring!
Get involved! The Girls on the Run SoleMates program provides people an opportunity to raise money for Girls on the Run while training for the athletic event of their choice. Find your local council, register to be a SoleMate and let your love of movement change the life of a girl.