On Saturday, May 14th, 2022, over 5,000 Girls on the Run participants, their coaches, and biggest supporters, ran, skipped, walked, and rolled their way through 3.1 miles in Forest Park. This was the first in-person spring 5K since the start of the pandemic, and the energy and excitement was contagious. Girls on the Run St. Louis was honored to welcome Dr. Matifadza Hlatshwayo Davis as our Honorary Race Chair for the 5K. Prior to the event, she wrote the following letter to our 2,400 Girls on the Run and Heart & Sole participants encouraging them in their 5K and beyond. Thank you, Dr. Mati, for supporting the empowerment of girls in St. Louis!
I am so honored to join you tomorrow as the Honorary Race Chair for the Girls on the Run St. Louis 5k. You women leaders exemplify everything that is needed in our society today by boldly prioritizing your health and wellness; committing to personal and professional development, and serving your community. For some of you the 5k, tomorrow may be easily achievable, and for others, there may be nerves or even self-doubt. Please be assured that wherever you are on that scale, it is valid. You all deserve to celebrate this great commitment to bettering yourselves and everyone around you, and you should also know that you will have me and hundreds of other people supporting you all the way no matter what your time or where you place. I believe in you!
As a woman leader in a world that has a long way to go in honoring the gifts and talents women have in an equitable way, I want you to know that your presence in this world is so important. Each one of you brings a unique perspective and a much-needed gift to our community and society as a whole. Stand tall with your head held high and be unapologetic about who you are. Seek mentors who will support you, whether at home, in the community, or at school. And if you are struggling at all, please ask for help. I know that Girls on the Run St. Louis is a safe space where you can always find support when you may be struggling.
The Department of Health supports you today and throughout your journey. We have your back and so do I!