October 25, 2023 – Philadelphia, PA – Girls on the Run Philadelphia (GOTRP) is thrilled to share that board member Jessica Smith won first place in last weekend’s Atlantic City Half Marathon. The event, which includes miles run along Atlantic City’s historic boardwalk, boasts a field of 1,020 runners.
With her eye on December’s California International Marathon, long-time runner for Philly Runner Track Club, Jessica Smith, built out her fall training calendar to incorporate a few nearby races, including last Sunday’s half marathon. As Smith emerged the women’s leader during the race, the emphatic cheering of the female spectators, some of them barely old enough to take a few steps, filled her with emotion. Completing the race in first place with a time of 1:20:07 illustrates Jessica’s prowess on the race course, but it’s her commitment to paying it forward with her win that is the real story.
Jessica has served on the board of directors for Girls on the Run Philadelphia for the past two years. The organization was a natural fit for Smith who knows first-hand that the self-confidence developed through running transcends the racecourse. During her time with GOTRP, Jessica has spearheaded the organization’s board ambassador program, empowering board members to harness their personal “why” to advance its mission. As the parent of a young daughter, Jessica understands the important role youth development programs play in fostering life skills and social-emotional wellbeing. A Philadelphia resident herself, she also understands that the needs of the community often outweigh the means. That is why Smith decided to donate her prize money in support of GOTRP’s annual giving campaign.
“There have been so many people who have inspired me throughout my running journey over the years but nothing has come close to the inspiration I draw from a GOTR girl finishing her first 5k after months of team building and learning what she’s capable of.” says Smith. “I feel so fortunate to play a small part in giving these girls the opportunity to be a part of this program designed to help them navigate critical life challenges.”
Since its inception in 2012, GOTRP has been committed to ensuring every girl in our community can participate and experience the same feeling Jessica had as she crossed the finish line last weekend. This year’s campaign will subsidize registration fees for over 1,000 girls in Philadelphia.
About Girls on the Run
Girls on the Run is a transformational physical activity-based positive youth development program for girls in 3rd-8th grade. Our mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. We teach life skills through dynamic interactive lessons and running games. The program culminates with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5k running event. The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness. Girls on the Run of Philadelphia offers programs in schools and community sites throughout the county. For more information and to get involved, visit: https://www.gotrphiladelphia.org