By Dawn Pearson
Girls on the Run Hamilton County will host its inaugural 5K run/walk at 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 16 at Saxony in Fishers. This event will bring together girls, their families and the community to celebrate the end of the three-month long character-building program.
GOTR teaches life skills to girls in third through eighth grade with interactive lessons and running games. Each three-month session culminates with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5K running event.
“Girls on the Run is not a running program, it’s an international program teaching confidence and self-esteem. Girls all come together and learn how to deal with all sorts of life issues, including peer pressure, learning to be confident and a whole host of life’s lessons,” Laura Musall, member of GTOR board of directors in Hamilton County said.
“Running is only incorporated into the after-school program, for instance running a lap around the school and each time they run a lap they have to say something positive about themselves, building the self-confidence they need to believe,” she said.
“The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness,” said Hollie Nicholson, co-founder of GOTR Hamilton County and 5K run director. “That accomplishment comes in all flavors and everyone who participates – whether they run, walk, hop, skip or cartwheel across the finish line – is to be honored and congratulated.”
GOTR Hamilton County is part of the international nonprofit program and began with 15 girls at one school. In four years it has expanded to include nearly 200 girls annually. This fall, GOTR is offered at six elementary and intermediate schools in Fishers, Noblesville and Westfield. The organization is working to expand and include more schools throughout the county.
Established in 1996 in Charlotte, N.C., their mission reads, “We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. We envision a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.”
With more than 250 GOTR 5K runs throughout the U.S. and Canada, it is the largest youth 5K series in the country. For more information or to register for the run, visit www.gotrhamiltoncounty.org. Early registration through Oct. 31 is $25. Race-day registration is $30.