My childhood home sat perfectly situated on a low-traffic 1 mile loop. As a runner for my high school team, every Saturday I’d head out the door for my rhythm miles—essentially a workout designed to make me comfortable at my target race pace. Before heading out the door my 8 years younger sister Val would hand me an ice filled water bottle, and ask if she could join me for the cool down mile. Coming into the finishing stretch of my last repeat I’d see Val patiently waiting at the end of the driveway. Her long brown hair combed neatly into a pony with a sweatband tightly wrapped around her head, she gave me a wave as we began the loop discussing the pancakes we’d make at home.
Had we been born in the pre-Title IX era, I don’t think our Saturdays would have looked like this. I know that my mom’s didn’t. As a child my mom had to foster her own love of athletics. She wasn’t encouraged to sweat and be strong as Val and I were. Despite the culture of her youth, my mom took full advantage of Title IX as it got rolling during her college years. She was a member of the inaugural Dartmouth Women’s Soccer and Ice Hockey teams and co-founded the Dartmouth Women’s Rugby club team.
I have never seen the sky through a glass ceiling. Through participation in athletics, I have never felt like I couldn’t do something—in sport and in life. I was fortunate to have a family and group of coaches who believed that if I set my mind to something, it could be achieved. I carried this mindset through a star-crossed career in middle school soccer to an Olympic berth on the US Cross Country Ski Team at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
It is one of the saddest realities that this is not the case for the majority of girls across the country. Girls drop out of sport at a rate twice that of boys, and (I argue) therefore lose out on twice the opportunity to gain confidence in themselves, their minds, and their bodies. Sport has taught me to value my body for what it can do and not how it looks. It has taught me that feeling capable is powerful. That pushing yourself leads you to break your own perceived limitations. That proving yourself braver than you thought is more important than anything in the world. So I’m running the New York City Marathon as a part of the Women in Sports Foundation to help other girls and women be brave. The world needs more girls to believe in their inherent bravery. And for that, we need them to stay in sport.
Please consider a donation to the Women in Sports Foundation on behalf of future bravery. As part of being brave by example I am setting a lofty goal to run a sub-3:15 marathon come November, and sharing that goal with anyone who asks. I’ll be posting regular updates on how training is going, with links to recipes I’m using to fuel my body and tricks I’m picking up on running and recovery. Follow along on Instagram with the hashtag #believeinyourbrave, and post you’re your own photos with the hashtag as well—I’d love to see your story. Thank you so much for your support!