Posted Kenzie Kramer on 8/24/2016 |Remarkable! People
In Girls on the Run and Heart & Sole, girls engage in lessons about being supportive teammates and choosing to encourage others. Recently, five members of the Girls on the Run charity running program SoleMates put these lessons to use and teamed up to support each other on a 321 mile bike ride across the state of Missouri, raising over $8,000 for Girls on the Run programs in their state.
The ride was initiated by Girls on the Run of St. Louis Board Vice President David Pokorny who became involved with his local Girls on the Run council through employer, FOX Sports Midwest, a corporate partner for the council. FOX Sports is also a national partner for Girls on the Run through their FOX Sports Supports, a relationship that Pokorny helped facilitate. After seeing the impact that the programs had on girls in his community, Pokorny wanted to find more ways to support GOTR and had the idea for a bike ride from the St. Louis Cardinal’s stadium to the Kansas City Royal’s stadium.
“I thought biking from a game at Busch Stadium to another game at Kauffman Stadium would be a fun challenge. I mentioned it to a friend, Rebecca Sommers, and her enthusiasm sealed the deal,” said Pokorny.
Pokorny and Sommers recruited three other riders to join their team including Sommer’s husband John and her coworker Tommy Short as well as Pokorny’s FOX Sports coworker Tim O’Connor.
“I really wanted to have a SoleMate team. I wanted the group experience. People love the Royals and Cardinals and I knew a distinctive and fun once-in-a-lifetime opportunity would get more friends to join us,” said Pokorny.
The group set a fundraising goal of $2,500, enough to sponsor one Girls on the Run team, and planned the ride to join up with an organized ride that used the state park system to ride across the state. The team started their journey by including Girls on the Run of St. Louis participants in on-field recognition at a St. Louis Cardinals game which was organized by FOX Sports Midwest.
Their 321 mile ride took six days to complete and the team kept their supporters updated through their Facebook page.
“In the campground the last night I couldn’t sleep. I felt so grateful for the experience with our SoleMate team talking up GOTR and doing outreach and raising money so more girls and families can get the Girls on the Run impact,” said Pokorny.
The team’s most difficult day was their last day before reaching the Kansas City Royal’s stadium. With each other’s support, they pushed through over 80 miles of biking and arrived at the stadium in time for another on-field recognition, this time with girls from Girls on the Run of Kansas City.
Through the once-in-a-lifetime experience, the five riders raised over $8,000 for Girls on the Run, which will support programing for the St. Louis and Kansas City councils.
“We are helping change the culture and the society to support girls, help their confidence soar and encourage them to become the future leaders we need them to be,” said Pokorny.
To learn more about how you can get involved with Girls on the Run as a SoleMate, visit our information page here.