Posted on 10/26/2016 |Remarkable! People
During each Girls on the Run season, girls learn the importance of building relationships with people who support their goals and ambitions, much like the Girls on the Run national partners like ASICS. Not only does ASICS support the Girls on the Run mission of inspiring girls to be joyful, healthy and confident – but their athletes do too!
During Girls on the Run, girls learn about being grateful for all that they have and about the importance of contributing to their communities.
Keep reading to learn more about ASICS athletes’ passion for giving back to their communities and see what ASICS and Girls on the Run are up to next!
Gwen Jorgensen, 2016 Olympic Triathlon Gold medalist and two-time ITU World Triathlon Series Champion, is passionate about inspiring the next generation and she loves doing so by getting them involved in sports and a healthy lifestyle. “Being a female athlete, I am able to be a role model for young females”, says Gwen, “I hope to inspire kids to get involved in sport because I want them to be active, living a healthy life.”
To do this, she started the Gwen Jorgensen Scholarship, which awards over $25,000 annually to junior triathletes. Not only does Gwen fund these athletes’ efforts, but she also mentors them through weekly phone calls, texts, and volunteers at Junior Triathlon camps and races. For Gwen, it is both motivating and refreshing to volunteer at the Women’s Junior Triathlon camps and local races. Knowing that she can inspire others motivates her to work hard as well!
Gwen believes that you can always make time for what you are passionate about. When asked how she balances being a professional athlete with giving back to her community, Gwen said: “We make time for what we believe in and for me, I believe in giving back to a community that has given me so much.”
Sara and Ryan Hall
Ever since traveling outside of the U.S. to impoverished areas of Central America and Africa, Sara Hall’s heart has burned to see an end to extreme poverty. It marked her life seeing people not have access to clean water, adequate food, shelter or basic health care – things she claims she took for granted growing up in the United States. Ryan Hall, Sara’s husband and fellow ASICS athlete, shares many of the same convictions, sharing that he is most passionate about giving hope to the youth. “When we have hope, life is worth living,” says Ryan. “I believe hope is one of the most powerful gifts you can give any person – especially the youth who are constantly making decisions that will affect the rest of their lives.”
Together, in an effort to alleviate the suffering of those living in extreme poverty, Sara and Ryan founded the Hall Steps Foundation. The foundation inspires the running community to take a “step”, no matter how small, to do their part in giving back. The Halls Steps Foundation has provided funds to health clinics in numerous African countries, bought clean water to over a million people and has given $100,000 of microloans to help people work their way out of poverty. The duo also started a running-mentoring program in Chicago and even supports Girls on the Run in Northern Arizona!
Sharon Day-Monroe, three-time USA heptathlon champion and Olympian, possesses a heart for giving back to those who lack a safe place to live. Sharon’s carpentry skills have been extremely beneficial in her efforts to help the homeless and less fortunate. She loves working with Habitat for Humanity and feels especially fulfilled when the recipients of the homes are families with children. “I truly feel that we are all in this thing called life together. To help serve others around you uplifts the community and everyone benefits,” she says. “Service makes the world a better place to live.”
Sharon is also busy and working with organizations like Habitat for Humanity is hard on her body. Because of the physical nature of this sort of work, she prioritizes it for the off-season and does other work when she is busy training, such as school visits and speeches. Last fall, Sharon visited a Girls on the Run site in Orange County, California with ASICS!
Going the Extra Mile
This month, ASICS is encouraging you to go the #ExtraMile to help contribute to Girls on the Run. ASICS and mobile fitness-tracking app, Runkeeper, have teamed up with Girls on the Run to celebrate the TCS New York City Marathon and provide running shoes to girls. Since the average Runkeeper workout is about three miles, ASICS is challenging you to go the #ExtraMile and run four! For each person who registers for and completes the challenge, ASICS will donate a pair of shoes to Girls on the Run. Find more information about that challenge here.