Four hundred girls run for life

May 24, 2019

Close to 400 runners blast out the start/finish line.

By Steve Landon

Photos by Steve Landon

Overcast sky’s, chilly temperatures and a threat of rain didn’t discourage close to 400 of the finest young athletes in Central Michigan from coming to the Hughes Memorial Stadium/Dick Harris Field in Harrison last Saturday for the “Girls on the Run” North 5K.

The 2019 field of runners consisted of “Girls on the Run”, coaches, family, friends and parents as well as community members who came out in force to lend their support. Participating schools included; Adams, Blessed Sacrament, Central Park, Clare, Fancher, Farwell, Gladwin Intermediate, Gladwin Jr. High, Harrison Hillside A, Harrison Hillside B, McGuire, Meridian, Pine River, Plymouth, Shepherd Elementary, St. Brigid, St. Joseph the Worker, and Woodcrest.

Starting off on the Harrison track runners made their way to the gate and on to a course featuring a variety of terrain that included several hills and a few flat sections. Running past the Harrison City Park and around the Harrison Middle and High School striders returned to the track charging down the front stretch and through the inflated finish line entering turn one.

Prior to the run girls had a chance to take in some prerace activities such as doing some energy cheers, getting their hair colored, or face painted all before doing some important stretching before exploding off the starting line for their action packed trek. The Harrison Hornet mascot (Karle Mathews) also got in on the fun working with the young ladies and cheering them on as they made their way to the finish line.

Next year Girls on the Run of Central Michigan will be going back to one big race. I’m OK with that. Putting on a 5K is a lot of work especially when you’re a full time teacher”, said Race Director Michael Long.

Long is a 5th grade teacher at Hillside Elementary School, Girls on the Run Coach at Hillside and 5K race director. He had nothing but praise for all the volunteers and participants; especially his colleague and coach of the Harrison GOTR team for helping him put together this years run.

Girls on the Run is a transformational physical activity based positive youth development program for girls in third to eighth grade. The program teaches life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games. It ends with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete in a 5K run.

There are 16 councils in Michigan including the Upper Peninsula. They all hold a celebration 5K.

The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness.

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