by Lynn Whiten

#WeFinishTogether and #BrownSkinGirls These two hashtags inspired me to invite my friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors to join Team #BrownSkinGirls for the best race in Frederick: The Frederick Women’s Distance Festival.

The WDF has always been my favorite race.  It was my first 5K race as a Steeplechaser after joining the Women’s 5K Training Program in 2015.

Earlier this year, Coach Evette Whisner and I talked about how we could grow our team of two into a larger team to run a 5K as a group. 

We started on March 30th with an email and FaceBook and Instagram posts asking ladies to join us for a 5K-3.1 Mile race in August.  We told them we would start training in June and would offer morning, evening, and weekend training sessions. 

From that point, our team just kept on growing.  When we began training, we asked the ladies what they wanted out of the training and what was their goal for the race.  Most of them said: “I want to finish a 5K.” We now had our coaching goal and were ready to move forward.

Our group was comprised of women at varying fitness levels: some had running experience, and some had never run before. We had runners who wanted to improve their time, walkers who wanted to run, and ladies who were comfortable walking but not yet as far as a 5K distance.

We worked with these ladies every week. We encouraged, supported, congratulated, and inspired them while they inspired us.  Before we knew it, walkers were running, and runners were improving their pace.  We were excited!

By the time race day was here, we had a total of 43 excited runners on our team!  Wearing our pink 2021 WDF tanks/shirts and our purple tutus, we were ready to achieve our goals.

#WeFinishTogether – We cheered every runner, runner/walker and walker crossing the line. No matter the time, we made every woman feel like they crossed the finish line first. And one of our team members, runner Promise Green, finished second in her age group! Goals accomplished.   

Receiving the WDF award for the largest Group/Team empowered our team of ladies with the excitement, energy and encouragement to move forward on their running journey.  Each team member was awarded with one of Harriet’s spectacular cookies.  I told them that while those cookies are so pretty you don’t want to eat them… you must eat them!

For Team #BrownSkinGirls, this was not a race, it was an experience.

Here is some feedback we received via Facebook

  • Thank you for creating an incredible circle of empowering women ~Stephani Baker
  • It was a great day and enjoyed the training and encouragement! ~Dena Whiten
  • It was an amazing day with an incredible group of women.  Lynn thank you for allowing me to share this experience. ~Odessa Hall Rollins
  • My first 5K! Women’s Distance Festival 2021.  I’m so proud of all of the dedicated women today! We did it! I want to thank my cousin, Lynn Whiten for forming the team and keeping me motivated! You’re a gem! ~ Darselle Monique Parker
  • So Proud of Myself Completing The 5K Run Walk!!!! ~ Melissa Watts
  • First 5K is in the books!!!! On to the next one. ~Rayel Stanton
  • We did it! Love to our great coaches for being such great inspirations for all of us. ~ Cindy Bernsten Burdette
  • Well, she told me I could not quit. She would be Lynn Whiten.  Thank you to them, the encouragers who pushed us to keep showing up and training.  5k 2021… check it off the list  #BrownSkinGirls.  We Did It!!  Awesome job ladies! ~ Jonneita Bowins