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Girls on the Run/Girls on Track celebrates with 5K run | Community Spirit

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Girls on the Run/Girls on Track celebrates with 5K run
Girls on the Run/Girls on Track celebrates with 5K run

The annual Girls on the Run/Girls on Track New Balance 5K will be held May 19 at the Grand Haven Public High School, 17001 Ferris Street at 10:30 am.

The participating girls will run at the high school and through area neighborhoods to culminate a ten week after school program that builds self esteem, confidence and promotes healthy lifestyles. Approximately 850 girls and their coaches will create a wave of pink in their colorful shirts as they run, walk and in some cases push participants in wheelchairs.

The public is invited to come and cheer for the girls along the route. Community members are also invited to participate in the 5K to show support for the girls. See www.gotroac.org for information about participation as a community runner and to register.

Schools participating in the event include: Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Coopersville, Allendale, Jenison and Hudsonville. The program has been in Ottawa and Allegan Counties for over 10 years and some of the early participants are now coaches, according to Sarah Bolman, coordinator of the program. “We have five grandmothers coaching and many moms, teachers and women from all walks of life. We applaud the commitment of our 300 volunteer coaches.”

Approximately 68 percent of girls require some scholarship assistance. Community business, organizations and individuals support the program in a variety of ways and the major sponsors for these events are Altheta, Secret, Skintimate, and Goody. Local sponsors include: The Center for Women in Transition, Herman Miller Foundation, United Way, Gazelle Sports, Shoreline Container, and Magna Mirrors. Names of sponsors will be proudly shown on the backs of the girls’ t-shirts as they weave through neighborhood streets.

Girls on the Run/Girls on Track is a program affiliate of the Center for Women in Transition. It is also one of the largest programs in the country. The program began in Charlottesville, North Carolina by Molly Barker, a four-time Ironwoman Triathlete, former teacher and coach. Barker’s own experience growing up as a young woman struggling with the pressures of trying to fit in with the popular crowd led her to develop this program that encourages young girls to accept themselves and to nurture, develop and celebrate their strengths. 

For information about the event or the program call 616.494.1719.