Motivation:  Everyone struggles with it.  You know what is harder than normal adult I-don’t-want-to-peel-myself-off-the-couch motivation troubles?  Getting fourteen 8 – 10 year olds to run a 5K.  In 50 minutes or less.


If there’s one thing I know about motivation – for adults and kids alike – is that there should always be something to look forward to at the end, whether that prize is a long, hot shower; a pat on the back; a post-race massage; or an adhesive handlebar mustache.


Yes. A mustache.


Today was the Practice 5K event at Girls on the Run.  Although some coaches take a more relaxed attitude about the trial run, I’ve always firmly believed that every girl should finish the entire 3.1 miles.  After all, the purpose of a Practice 5K is to make the girls feel confident for the actual event (which is in mid-May).  I don’t want them to be scared at the starting line – I want them to be excited!


So, every season, I make a big deal about the Practice 5K, turning it into a massive party with prizes and treats. 


We do a real water station!


The girls are encouraged to crush the cups and slam them onto the ground, just like they’ll do at the real race. Smile 


And we do orange slices.  You know… because runners fuel up during their workouts.  I don’t know what it is about orange slices, but kids will do anything for orange slices.  I sliced 35 oranges this morning – 280 slices!


3.1 miles is 19 laps around our oddly measured track.  Every mile, the girls got a ‘power ring’ (a plastic gem and diamond ring that I swore up and down gave them super running strength).  And on the 19th lap, they got to break the tape.


The 5K is not a race – there’s no winner and loser – so everyone gets to run through their very own finishing line.


And then, it was time for bubbles, cupcakes, party hats (excuse me – unicorn horns), and mustaches. 


I don’t know what it is with the girls, but they are really into mustaches this year.  I actually SCREAMED in Party City when I stumbled upon the colorful, furry mustaches because I instantly knew they’d be a hit.


Practice 5K – done and done!  Some finished in 30 minutes, some in 50 minutes, but we all had a very, very good time indeed.


Side note:  I totally want an colorful mustache.  I felt like a Lorax.  Save the trees!

 the_lorax_pop_up_book IMG_8760

And now, I really mustache to bed.  Yawn.


How to Get Involved with GOTR

Tips and Tricks for Coaches

What GOTR Gave to Me



  • Krista April 19, 2012, 9:34 pm

    That last picture of all the girls with their mustaches is awesome!!

    • Heather April 20, 2012, 7:56 am

      agree. ADORABLE.

  • Becca @ Blueberry Smiles April 19, 2012, 9:41 pm

    Lol! Great post, Caitlin! The girls are lucky to have you as their coach- you’re making it so fun for them.

  • Katie @ Soulshine and Sassafras April 19, 2012, 9:48 pm

    Hahaha, what a great idea! You’re going to be such a great mom 🙂

  • Catalina @ Cake with Love April 19, 2012, 9:58 pm

    The mustache is such a great and fun idea I am sure my niece will love it!!

  • Jen April 19, 2012, 9:59 pm

    I want to be 10 years old again and on your GOTR team!

  • Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon April 19, 2012, 10:08 pm

    Haha so fun!
    You are an awesome coach 🙂

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats April 19, 2012, 10:08 pm

    I love what you do with GOTR, you seem like a very motivating coach! I hope to be able to be a coach in the fall or next spring, depending on my class schedule!

  • Leila @ Spinach and Skittles April 19, 2012, 10:30 pm

    Girls in fuzzy colorful mustaches, that is hilarious. Love it!

  • Michelle April 19, 2012, 10:31 pm

    Totally thought of the Lorax as soon as I saw your moustache, glad you validated my thoughts at the end of the post! Nice pun, too. 🙂

  • Caroline @ After Dinner Dance April 19, 2012, 11:00 pm

    I love it! You’ve inspired me to get involved with GOTR. I contacted my local chapter and will be helping out with their 5k and hopefully be more involved for the fall season!

  • Carin April 19, 2012, 11:27 pm

    Ginger facial hair lol!

  • ChattyNatty April 19, 2012, 11:37 pm

    I love your creativity and totally agree with your “no mess around” attitutde with the practice 5K. The “staches” are my favorite.

  • Laura April 19, 2012, 11:51 pm

    Oh my gosh, I need to get those mustaches! Every November we do a Movember fundraiser at work and all the guys have mustaches and there are awards. We always struggle to find ways to get women involved (besides making fun of the guys) and these would be awesome!

  • Nicole April 20, 2012, 12:19 am

    That “jumping with mustaches” group photo is epic—i love it!

    • anne April 20, 2012, 4:56 pm


  • KaraHadley April 20, 2012, 3:10 am

    Those mustaches are so freaking awesome. I did my first ever 5k when I was about 8 or 9 and my time was right around 40 minutes, but in the end I got an awesome t-shirt and it was great.
    So glad these girls are loving it.

  • Jenn C April 20, 2012, 7:03 am

    Love this. Do they have GOTR in Canada. I would love to get involved and help girls here up north 🙂

    • Caitlin April 20, 2012, 7:35 am

      YuP! There are a few chapters!

  • Hillary April 20, 2012, 7:23 am

    Cupcakes, hats, mustaches, and rings??

    Will you accompany me to the gym every day? I think I’d be much more productive.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin April 20, 2012, 7:34 am

    Hahahaha those mustaches are killing me! 😀

    I love how you turn it into such a big event for the girls though – they deserve to celebrate such an accomplishment!

  • Molly @ RDexposed April 20, 2012, 7:45 am

    Girl in light pink got some air! Hahha

  • Katie @ cooklaughmove April 20, 2012, 7:47 am

    Haha!! I may need to try this! I’m really struggling with how to get some of the girls motivated! Yesterday, some ran 3.2 miles (each lap is .2) and some walked/shuffled 1.2 in 35 minutes.

  • Jen April 20, 2012, 8:04 am

    My motivation for the gym is that it puts me in a great mood and also I take my Kindle. I download any books I want and read them while I work out. I dislocated my toe a month ago and have been out of the gym and it’s been so difficult for me not to go. When I finally get back to the gym I’m going to indulge myself and re-read the Twilight series 😉

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed April 20, 2012, 8:13 am

    I NEED those… to Party City I go!!!!

  • Amy Q April 20, 2012, 8:19 am

    I love EVERYTHING about this story!

  • Janene April 20, 2012, 8:27 am

    All I know is that *I* would totally run for a mustache. No doubt.

  • Simply Life April 20, 2012, 8:48 am

    Did you see this article on CNN? Kinda goes along with this post and the one on obstacle courses! Love how creative you get with the girls!

    • Caitlin April 20, 2012, 12:59 pm

      That is fun!!!

  • Janel April 20, 2012, 9:37 am

    You’re such a great coach! I LOVE the mustache idea! For our practice 5k, we went ALL. OUT. water station, bananas, streamer “tape” at the end (thank you for that idea – it seriously was the highlight), and stickers. Oh man, the stickers. Our girls will do ANYTHING for stickers, and they get one for every lap, every practice. Who knew stickers were still so huge these days!? Thanks for the inspiration to be a GOTR coach. It is literally the highlight of my week, my co-coaches are my new bffs, and the girls are amazing and inspiring. I already can’t wait til next season.

  • Mac April 20, 2012, 10:10 am

    You are thr best GOTR coach ever!

  • Katrina April 20, 2012, 10:28 am

    I never thought Mustaches would be a “trend”. A coworker’s daughter (she’s 12) gave me an epic handlebar mustache necklace for my birthday. I wore it yesterday and got more comments on it than any other necklace I own. If you ever want to be in style, just ask a 12-year old. This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten good advice!

  • Anne P April 20, 2012, 10:46 am

    This is SO awesome. Great job making it fun for them. 🙂 I want to break the tape and get a mustache at my races, too!

  • Tricia April 20, 2012, 10:58 am

    This post is great lol I love the fuzzy ‘staches!

  • Ashley April 20, 2012, 11:39 am

    This looks like such a great event! I just wrote the other day about how I’m in significantly better shape now than I was in middle school and high school when I could barely complete those timed running tests. This looks like such a great idea to promote health without the competitive aspect that would discourage some girls.

    • Caitlin April 20, 2012, 1:00 pm

      Ugh god… remember those presidential fitness tests? they still have them.

  • Amber P April 20, 2012, 11:50 am

    Hi Caitlin

    I am in my fourth season as a GOTR coach and think that the mustaches are a great idea for the finish line. I have been trying to find low cost ways to make the longer runs more fun, and this will definitely work! Thanks for the great coaching ideas!

  • Amber K April 20, 2012, 12:39 pm

    How funny that mustaches are such a huge hit. Looks like they had a blast!

  • Kimberly (Sketch the Ebb and Flow) April 20, 2012, 12:48 pm

    Those.mustaches.are.awesome! Such a great motivator!

  • Leanne (Simplicitlee) April 20, 2012, 11:37 pm

    I cannot get over how great this is. You’re going to be an awesome mom!

  • Amada April 21, 2012, 12:19 am

    Oh my gosh those mustaches are purely amazing. And those girls are amazing and just precious! Such a great picture! Thank you for sharing Caitlin!

  • Jamie April 21, 2012, 3:14 pm

    Impressive! We had a very unsuccessful 5k attempt here. The weather was very hot (around 90) and they were just coming off of spring break, so nobody finished. I wish we had thought of the water stop! Our field is small so it’s 38 laps for a 5k.. makes it seem overwhelming. Live and learn for next season.

Healthy Tipping Point