On the run for fun: Girls take first Snohomish County 5K in stride

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    Girls and their supporters get going as the start is announced.
    Girls and their supporters get going as the start is announced. (Photos by Teresa Wippel)
    The steady rainfall didn’t matter to groups of energetic young girls gathered outside Lynnwood’s Experience Momentum workout facility Saturday morning. They had been practicing for months, and they were ready to run.

    The rain was no match for these smiling faces.
    The rain is no match for these smiling faces.
    The occasion was the first 5K sponsored by the newly formed Snohomish County Chapter of Girls on the Run, an organization devoted to encouraging positive emotional, social, mental and physical development of girls in 3rd through 5th grade. And that goal was clearly met on Saturday, as approximately 160 runners, their running buddies and other organization supporters headed out on the Interurban Trail.

    Girls on the Run International was founded in 1996 in Charlotte, N.C The mission is “to provide pre-adolescent girls with the necessary tools to embrace their individual strengths and successfully navigate life experiences.” The Snohomish County Chapter, which launched last spring, now operates a 10-week after-school program for grades 3-5 in Edmonds — at Seaview and Sherwood Elementary Schools along with a community team at the Frances Anderson Center — and at Terrace Park K-8 in Mountlake Terrace. Starting in January, the group will expand to Edmonds Heights K-8 school, Mountlake Terrace’s Brighton School, and Lynnwood’s Spruce and Hazelwood elementaries.

    Sherwood Elementary team members pose for a photo prior to the race.
    Sherwood Elementary team members pose for a photo prior to the race.
    As the Girls on the Run (GOTR) website states, “Physical activity is woven into the program to inspire an appreciation of fitness and to build habits that lead to a lifetime of health.” At the end of each three-month session, the girls participate in a Girls on the Run 5k event — and this Saturday’s affair served as the inaugural event for the Snohomish County Girls on the Run Chapter.

    Snohomish County Girls on the Run Executive Director Megan Wolfe thanks the crowd as Board Chair Kerry Richter looks on.
    Snohomish County Girls on the Run Executive Director Megan Wolfe thanks the crowd as Board Chair Kerry Richter looks on.
    Megan Wolfe, the Snohomish County chapter’s executive director and founder (read more on her in our previous story here) offered special thanks to the program’s volunteer leaders as well as the running buddies, parents and other supporters. She also thanked Experience Momentum for hosting the event registration as well as the start and finish line.

    Members of the Terrace Park School team before the event.
    Members of the Terrace Park School team before the event.
    Mary Jean McMahon, who leads the Francis Anderson Center GOTR program, said her work is rewarding “because these kids have so much fun,” and she encouraged others to become volunteer leaders. “Spread the word,” she said.

    One of the enthusiastic participants was 8-year-old Lucy Finnell from Seaview Elementary, who was looking forward to her first 5K with her dad as a running buddy. But she also shared an important lesson she learned this year in addition to running: How to deal with bullies at school.

    Lucy’s mother, Edie Finnell, said Girls on the Run has given Lucy more social confidence, and she has overheard her daughter passing on what’s she’s learned to her younger sister.

    “The adults that are running it are wonderful,” Edie Finnell said.

    To learn more or to volunteer, visit the Snohomish County Girls on the Run website.

    Editor’s note: The My Neighborhood News Network (My Edmonds News, MLTnews and Lynnwood Today) was a sponsor of Saturday’s event.

    Family members offered support from the sidelines.
    Family members offer support from the sidelines.

    Kicking up their heels.
    Kicking up their heels at the finish line.

    Tutus were optional.
    Tutus were optional.

    Enjoying a warm drink under cover before the run begins.
    Enjoying a warm drink under cover before the run begins.

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