Jenna Jones, 10, is trying to not be negative, but to stay positive everyday – especially when she’s in math class, she said.
Third-grader Allison Adams, 9, is finding ways to believe in herself, like when she gets to that fifth rung on the monkey bars, the most difficult one to maneuver, she said.
These are a few of the lessons a group of nine girls from Glenn Marshall Elementary have been learning during their 24-week Girls on the Run program.
GOTR is a nationwide program for girls in third through eight grade.
“Our mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident, using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running,” according to the GOTR Central Kentucky website.
A group at Kirksville Elementary completed the program last year, and Farristown Middle is beginning its own GOTR, said Lesley Carr, a Glenn Marshall Elementary teacher who heads the group locally.
The girls meet Tuesdays and Thursdays after school. During the first part of each session, they talk about self-esteem, learning to appreciate themselves, being positive and embracing their talents, Carr said, along with gratitude and cooperation.
For the second part of the session, they simply run.
They always end the session by answering follow-up questions about the lesson and with a cheer: “Girls on the Run is so much fun!”
The girls also decide which one of them exhibited the most energy during the workout and reward her with her own special “energy cheer” while she stands in the middle of a circle.
As part of the program, the girls are training for the Girls on the Run Spring 5K (3.1 miles) on April 28 at the Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington.
Each week, they encourage one another to run faster and farther while applying to their running the lessons they learned.
“Ms. Carr teaches us to always stay positive, no matter what,” said fourth-grader Dakota Townsend. “And when you run, you shouldn’t stop unless you really need a drink.”
The groups from Kirksville and Farristown will join them for a practice 5K next Saturday, Carr said.
The girls will all wear racing bibs that have #1 on them, she said, “to remind the girls that no matter what the outcome, they're all still No. 1.”
Many of the girls had never considered running track (which is offered in middle school), until they began this program. Most of them had never ran distances like this before, they said Thursday.
As the girls meet their running goals for each lesson, they receive miniature feet charms that can be strung on a bracelet or necklace. They also can tie together loop bracelets on the “Girls on the Run chord” for each lap as a visual reminder of how far they’ve come.
The cost is $150 per girl to participate in the program, which is funded by various local sponsors: Indigo Run Inc., White and Associates, Realtor Amanda Stepp, Ty Lucas Foundation and Thurman Parsons Insurance.
The money pays for snacks, race fees, T-shirts, the lesson binder and practice materials.
For details on how to sponsor a girl, visit gotrcentralky.org or contact Carr at email@example.com.
Crystal Wylie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.
Life lessons from Girls on the Run
“Always have self-determination. I’m always determined to do well, like in math and archery.”
— Lacey Mae Denny, 11
“Always believe in yourself. Science is hard, but I believe I can do it.”
— Kayley Horn, 10
“It’s not all about winning.”
— Alexis Manns, 10
“If someone is being mean to you, ignore it. Don’t let those words affect you, don’t let them hurt your feelings.”
— Bailey Claywell, 10
“Never give up and don’t stop running. Pace yourself.”
— Ambria Tanner, 10