My name is Crystal Achuo and I am the Program Director for Girls on the Run of Frederick County. I first got involved with GOTR as a coach at Orchard Grove Elementary School when my son, Sebastian, started kindergarten there. He has since switched schools, and I took a break from coaching, but missed it, so last year I contacted Leah Perry about potential job openings. Amazingly enough, she was looking for someone to join her, and in July of 2016 I began working for the program! I’m pretty sure I have the best boss and GOTR Grand Central is a great place to work. I love working with and getting to know all our wonderful volunteer coaches and helpers, and finding ways to make their experience with the teams even better. I’ve learned how much goes on behind the scenes to make this program happen, and I’m excited to see how much we can grow and expand to serve more girls in our community!
I love the GOTR program both for its mission to help girls be healthy and confident in all aspects of their lives, and because it involves running! I am an avid runner, and while I love it now, I didn’t initially. I began running when I was 17 and I hated it. I did stick with it, though, and it has proved to be a great source of joy and freedom, an outlet for life’s problems, and has challenged me to do more.
At first, my running consisted of mainly 5Ks and maybe slightly longer distances here and there. My first half marathon was the Frederick Half in 2011, my first marathon in 2014 (I said I’d never do one), and my first ultramarathon, the Catoctin 50K, in 2016 (I blame Leah). After that, I was hooked on seeing what more I could do, what I could push myself through...and the lessons learned through running have helped me through daily life as well.
My hope is to be able to encourage our GOTR girls (and my son & others too) to know their potential, what they are capable of when they put their mind to something, and believe in themselves. My little mantra has become, “Keep running.”