Hundreds out for Girls on the Run 5K

May. 11, 2013 @ 02:41 PM

Girls on the Run of Vance and Granville counties hosted their sixth 5K Race Saturday morning with a crowd of approximately 300 people participating.

People sporting neon green and pink T-shirts filled the street area near the future Breckenridge Commons, out the police department, many with colorfully spray-painted hair, and some in fluffy white tutus.

“The tutu is just celebrating my unique talents and gifts like we do at girls on the run,” said Julia Langston, director of Girls on the Run. “The green shirts are event shirts for the day, and pink shirts are people helping with the event.”

Langston says participation in the program, aimed at positive youth development for girls in third through eighth grade, has picked up since the program expanded into Granville County.

“That has helped pick up participation,” Langston said. “We have 107 girls participating this year, last fall it was around 74.”

A partnership between the Henderson Family YMCA, Granville-Vance District Health Department, and Henderson Junior Women’s Club has brought financial and volunteer support to the program.

Amanda Barker, with Granville-Vance District Health Department, says since the partnership began in the fall of 2010, the Girls on the Run program has grown by 100 girls.

“In the fall of 2010 we started with 10 girls,” Barker said. “This season we have 110.”

Enjoying music played by the event’s disc jockey and busting out her dance moves was Kim Watts from Bullock.

“I learned the dance at a restaurant, Munchin Marvins,” Watts said. “We’re having fun today.”

Watts was at the celebratory event with her daughter, who has been participating in Girls on the Run since it expanded to Granville County last year.

“She goes to Stovall Shaw Elementary, and the sent paper work home on it, and we joined,” Watts said. “She raised her own money, too.

“She made key chains and sold them, and raised her own money to join, which I thought was really, really impressive for a fifth-grader.”

Since participating in the program, Watts says her daughter has increased her running distance, and participated in a 5K at her school.

While young girls active in the program benefit form the physical aspect, they also learn lessons of self-value.

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

The program culminates with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5K running event.

On Saturday morning, members of the Vance-Granville Girls on the Run chapter reached that peak, joining their running buddies, and others on a 3.1-mile trot through town.

Kayla Holder, a freshman at Kerr-Vance Academy, was first across the finish line in just over 20 minutes.

“It’s been great, we’ve learned a lot from the girls, and it’s been really successful,” said Claire Edwards, a student at Kerr-Vance Academy who participates in the program as the running buddy of a younger girl. “She went from walking to running all the time.

“It’s been a total change.”

Contact the writer at abentley@hendersondispatch.com.