ST. GEORGE — Amid the sounds of rock ballads, cheering supporters and cowbells, the first group of Girls on the Run of Southern Utah participants toed the starting line at Town Square in St. George Friday afternoon in an effort to complete a 5K race celebrating the end of a 12-week long after-school development program aimed at building self esteem in young girls through running.
Inspirational signs lined the loop course at Town Square that program participants as well as family, friends and community supporters circled 14 times garnering a total of 3.1 miles.
The atmosphere was festive and exciting as racers donned brightly colored tutus and had their faces painted with flowers and butterflies. Although the girls were nervous about the pending race, they also felt prepared and ready.
Girls on the Run participant Breanna Campbell said that she was excited to race the 3 miles, nodding “no” when asked if she thought it was going to be hard.
“I think it’s really fun,” 10-year-old Hazel Poulsen said of the program, “it’s a good way to express yourself and it’s a really good way to help you with situations at school.”
Poulsen said that the program taught her how to deal with bullying and also to feel confident in herself. Though she knew the race was only for fun, Poulsen said, she still hoped to perform her best.
The program was open to girls in third through fifth grades and was held in two schools in Washington County: Vista Charter School and Sandstone Elementary School, Executive Director, Melissa Miller said.
The next Girls on the Run session will begin the first week of September, Miller said and is being expanded into more schools.
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