Eight Alumnae Girls Gone Gazelle Run Club participants took on Virtual Everest which is a fundraiser for the Arthritis Society that involves running up (and down) Citadel Hill eighty (80!) times for a total elevation gain of 8848m. The event was scheduled for November 12, 2017.
I (“Coach Stacy”) have a confession to make. I wanted the Gazelles to do something really big on this particular day so that I wouldn’t. November 12th was the one year anniversary of my participation in a 100 Mile Race (yep, I ran 100 miles) and I was afraid I’d want to commemorate it by doing something even crazier. For about a minute I thought of doing Virtual Everest by myself. Then I got an even better idea but I needed to see if there were other mini-me’s looking for a great big challenge! I thought there might be if I extended the invitation to Girls Gone Gazelle alumni. And I was right.
I’ve told you the event is hard (80 hill repeats), but why does it happen? Since its inception in 2013 (and including this year) Virtual Everest has raised more than $104,000 for The Arthritis Society. That matters because 25% of all Nova Scotians have arthritis.
The event has quickly grown into a fall highlight for many groups, corporations and fitness enthusiasts – becoming one of The Arthritis Society’s most publicized events in Canada! But, it has never been promoted to youth and I can’t help but smile thinking that will change thanks to Girls Gone Gazelle Run Club.
This was the first time that a youth team was involved in Virtual Everest and we had to get special permission because the minimum age had always been 16 and our Gazelles have an average age of 11 years young! Luckily, the organizers are familiar with Girls Gone Gazelle Run Club and they knew we wouldn’t show up if we weren’t prepared. As alumnae, we had already trained with these Gazelles and we knew it wouldn’t take much to get them hill ready. Though considering we had one of our practices after the time change, it certainly was memorable hill training!
As a coach, I had a schedule and I had a pretty good guess on what time we’d finish thanks to our practice hill repeats. But, I was wrong. The Gazelles exceeded even my high expectations and I know they really impressed all the runners around them. Their team finished 13 out of 30 teams. And, the thing that meant the most to me as a coach was that our team was so positive and encouraging of each other. We have three training groups annually but these girls only met when training for this specific event. These 8 Gazelles have modified our team motto: “I don’t chase boys, I pass them on hills!”
Now thanks to social media we were able to see these awesome comments from other participants:
“I loved trying to run faster than them this morning. They were fantastic!!”
“It was fun watching this group of young ladies fly up the hill!”
“So awesome to have you guys on the hill today!!! Wicked Job!!”
“Girls Gone Gazelle gals were amazing – made me pick up my pace every time you scooted past me –tee hee – awesome job today.”
“Those girls were fast! Great to have them participating in our event! Please come back next year!”
I can’t wait to see what the Gazelles get up to in 2018!