Inspired by marathon participation, Hrabina brings Girls on the Run to county
During a family vacation at Disney World, Marlinton resident Wanda Hrabina was introduced to the Walt Disney World Marathon. Watching as thousands of people ran through the theme parks of Disney World, Hrabina was inspired to give the marathon a try.
ﾓI had never run. Iﾒm really not that athletic,ﾔ she said. ﾓI enjoy walking and hiking, but not to that extreme. I just thought that maybe I should go because it would be fun.ﾔ
The marathon includes several types of runs, including a half marathon, which Hrabina chose to take on. She signed up, but kept it hush hush, in case she decided not to compete.
By summer, Hrabina was convinced she was going and began training.
ﾓThey have a training program on their website and I followed the program for the run/walk so I could finish the half marathon, which is 13.1 miles, in three and a half hours,ﾔ she said. ﾓEverything was going great, but then I got sick in October/November. I didnﾒt do anything for about six or seven weeks.ﾔ
Hrabina was worried her race to the marathon was over, but she stayed determined and decided to push on and go to Disney World.
ﾓI thought if anything, at least I would still have a vacation in Disney World,ﾔ she joked.
With the assistance of her brother, Wesley, Hrabina found the confidence to take on the 13.1 miles.
ﾓHe was really more confident. Wesley was the one that really kept me motivated because I was still so nervous about it,ﾔ she said. ﾓBut, he was talking about how the altitude difference would help me because Iﾒm up here at the high altitude and youﾒre at sea level down there.ﾔ
Hrabina may not have placed in the top 10, she didnﾒt even place in the top 100, but that didnﾒt matter. She finished the race and had an experience of a lifetime.
ﾓIt was an amazing, amazing experience,ﾔ she said. ﾓThey shoot off fireworks and the characters are there. Thereﾒs blaring music. Itﾒs fun because people are along the race route and theyﾒre just cheering and clapping.ﾔ
Along with succeeding in running/walking the 13.1 miles, Hrabina met new people, ran through the Disney parks and got a medal resembling her favorite Disney character.
ﾓDonald Duck is the mascot of the half marathon and heﾒs my favorite character,ﾔ she said. ﾓAt the end of the race, they put the medal around your neck and you really feel like a winner.
ﾓIt was a really incredible thing,ﾔ she added. ﾓItﾒs one of those things, Iﾒm glad I did it, Iﾒm not sure if I want to do it again, but it was while I was training, I was really enjoying. I was having a lot of fun and was really pleased with my progress.ﾔ
As Hrabina was training for the Dinsey marathon, she searched the Internet for local races to help her prepare. That is when she stumbled upon the Girls on the Run program.
ﾓI thought it was just a local name they chose for a race in Virginia, but then during lunch one day, Lisa Wayne was talking about the Girls on the Run race she saw in Elkins,ﾔ she explained. ﾓSo I did some research and found out itﾒs an international organization.ﾔ
Girls on the Run was founded by Molly Barker, of Charlotte, North Carolina.
ﾓShe had some not so positive experiences when she was in school and never felt like she measured up,ﾔ Hrabina said. ﾓShe was never thin enough or pretty enough or smart enough. She was never in the popular group and so she started running.ﾔ
Barker found her stride, so to speak, when she was running and gained a confidence she couldnﾒt find anywhere else. She started the program to help girls who may be experiencing the same things she did in school.
ﾓThey wanted to focus on kids, to keep girls out of some of those high-risk problems that she got involved in, and then give them some positive experiences, some self-esteem, an exercise program and then maybe help them build it into something that becomes a lifelong passion or at least a lifelong exercise program,ﾔ Hrabina said.
The program began at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School March 20, for girls in third through eighth grades. The girls will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school to complete the 10-week program.
ﾓUltimately, weﾒre looking to keep girls out of those problem areas and give them some experiences and ideas of other options that they have,ﾔ Hrabina said. ﾓNot everybody is going to become an Olympic athlete, but hereﾒs something that they can do for fun, and they donﾒt need anything special. A pair of sneakers, a water bottle and they can go out and have a great time with a friend, or by themselves.ﾔ
The program will include a lesson revolving around self-esteem issues, peer pressure and other issues young girls face at school. Hrabina and Wayne will lead the program, and welcome volunteers to join in the run/walk with the girls.
ﾓWe have people who have volunteered to come and walk with us,ﾔ Hrabina said. ﾓCommunity people, other teachers and some people from the observatory (NRAO) who would like to come and walk.ﾔ
Hrabina added that she has had several high school girls who want to volunteer to help with the program, as well.
To participate in the 10 week session, there is a $25 fee, but Hrabina is looking for organizations to pay the fee for the girls.
ﾓWe donﾒt want girls to think they canﾒt participate because maybe they canﾒt come up with that fee,ﾔ she said. ﾓWe have been talking to area businesses and community organizations to see if they would pay the fee.ﾔ
The fee covers the cost of snacks and materials, and the entry fee for the 5K, which will be the end of the 10 week program.
Pocahontas County is joining the Randolph-Tucker-Barbour counties Girls on the Run organization and will compete in the 5K with them.
Hrabina said she hopes to see the program spread to other schools in the county.
For more information on Girls on the Run, visit www.girlsontherun.org or contact Hrabina at email@example.com