Thursday May 9, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- Since Girls on the Run came to Vermont in 1996, some 25,000 girls have taken part in the program, whose mission is to teach self-confidence, concern for community, and how to make healthy choices, all while preparing to complete a 5K run / walk.

On Saturday, May 25, at 10 a.m. at Brattleboro Union High School, Girls on the Run Vermont will celebrate those girls, particularly the 1,000 from southern Vermont schools who are just completing the program. The eleventh annual Girls on the Run Southern Vermont 5K Run / Walk is open to families and friends, as well as the community at large. In 2012, that meant close to 2,000 runners / walkers and supporters on hand. All proceeds from the event go to scholarships for girls statewide who might not otherwise be able to participate in the program.

Incredible program growth over the past few years has necessitated the addition of a third 5K, which will be held in Rutland at the Vermont State Fairgrounds on June 1. That will supplement the two original events, in Essex Junction and Brattleboro; the former will take place this year on June 8 at the Champlain Valley Fairgrounds.

The Girls on the Run curriculum combines empowering lessons in good food choices, the importance of regular exercise, and positive self-image development with a community service component. Girls in grades three through eight meet twice weekly with volunteer coaches to discuss issues and take part in fun running activities. The workouts provide program participants the opportunity to challenge themselves in an encouraging environment that advocates both physical and emotional fitness. This year, 188 groups reaching 3,000 girls throughout the state offer Girls on the Run (grades 3 through 5) and Girls on Track (grades 6 through 8).

Advance mail-in registration, postmarked by May 20, is now available. Registration may also be completed online before midnight on May 23, at girlsontherunvermont.org. To receive an event flyer, call 802-246-1476. The first 100 registered (who are not already Girls on the Run participants) will receive a free GOTR 5K t-shirt.

Registration is free for GOTR participants, $10 for children ages 17 and under, $20 for adults, and $40 for households registering three or more members. Checks should be made payable to Girls on the Run Vermont and mailed to: Girls on the Run 5K Run / Walk, 22 Browne Court, Suite 103B, Brattleboro, Vermont 05301.

Race day registration will take place from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. May 25 at Brattleboro Union High School. The 5K will begin at 10 a.m. For more information about the 5k or Girls on the Run, call 802-246-1476, or write to lauren@girlsontherunvermont.org.