Girls On The Run Celebratory 5k Held

DULUTH, Minn. — Girls on the run is a nationwide running program that teaches and develops young girls to be successful in every avenue of their lives. Saturday, that avenue was the Lakewalk as a 5k was held for these young athletes, and they showed exactly what they are capable of.

The non-profit holds runs and events across the country teaching social and emotional skills to young girls from 3rd to 8th grade.

The program helps them understand how to handle different interactions in their personal lives, while building confidence in themselves through the guidance of coaches, and running.

“Those skills that they learn carry out into their lives with adults and other people in their lives and it’s really important for them to share what they have learned with grownups who can then model healthy habits and good life skills and then they can move together in this event it’s pretty cool,” Heidi Schuchman, Head Coach of Girls On The Run in Duluth, said.

Many students from local schools are part of this program, but Iris Rude, a fifth grader of Lowell Elementary, who crossed the finish line first today with her coach, said the program was a good experience, and she’s been able to make a lot of friends.

“Actually, this is my first year doing it but I really loved it,” Rude said.

For her, running is a type of freedom, but one of her favorite things is to cheer others on.

“Yeah that’s my favorite, I ran a practice 5k at the girls on the run thing and then I ran like three quarters more of a 5k to cheer everybody on till it was done,” she added.

For girls to develop these relationships in the program is important, but the coaches hope it helps them relate to others in their lives too.

“Teaching girls that we can move our bodies and be healthy and active in ways that help us connect with other people and not are always competing against each other and I think that’s really important for kids to understand,” Schuchman said.

And even though the 5k was meant to celebrate their accomplishments, it’s always fun to be the first to cross the finish line.

“I was so excited,” Rude said about her strong finish.

“It’s really important for our youth to really feel the community support them in an event like that they get to feel empowered, they get to feel celebrated, like they are special because they all are,” Schuchman said.

Girls on the Run in Duluth hope to have another 5k in the spring, for more information about the program, head to gotrmn.org

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