Some girls at Morgan Elementary School are mixing good health with good character as part of the national “Girls on the Run” program.
Starting the second week of the school year, 15 fifth-graders and 11 fourth-graders have been meeting twice weekly for hourlong lessons to discuss topics such as achieving goals, adopting healthy eating habits and cooperation, while training to complete a 5K running event, which will be held Nov. 20 at Sawyer Point Park in Cincinnati, according to coach Jenna Rahrig .
“I first heard about it when the middle school did it a few years ago,” Rahrig said. “I liked it because it got the girls talking about emotional things that 10- and 11-year-old girls need to talk about. One of the lessons, for instance, is ‘Stepping Out of the Girl Box.’ ”
There is a $150 participation fee, Rahrig said, but girls who couldn’t afford it could still get in on a sliding fee. They received a new pair of custom-fitted New Balance shoes — which they decorated with beads — and a chance to bond with the girls in their class.
“They play a game that goes along with each lesson plan and we start running to work them up to running a 5K,” Rahrig said.
Each girl is also paired up with an adult “running buddy,” mostly parents and teachers. “There’s no racing and no timing,” Rahrig said. “It’s just to encourage them to be their best.”
On Wednesday evening, the teams met at the Ross High School track to run the full five kilometers — 13 laps.
“I think it’s fun because you get to know your friends and you get exercise,” said Hannah Jones, who said that she has learned how to eat healthier from the program.
“I stopped eating so much sugar and started eating salads and stuff,” she said. Fourth-grade teacher Lori Horne said that she’s seeing a difference in the girls in the classroom.
“They are more supportive of each other,” she said. “As the year progresses, you can see it carry over.”
Fifth-grader Abby Russell said that it has inspired her to be more helpful to others. She finished first at the trial run, even though the effort made her throw up when it was over.
“I think I’m going to pace myself more” at the big race, she said. “Especially at the end.”
The program has proven to be very popular among the students at Morgan Elementary.
“I’ve had boys come up to me asking why there’s no ‘Boys on the Run,’ ” Rahrig said.
From left, Tara Smith and Nancy Godbey cheer on Morgan Elementary School runners as they practice for the “Girls on the Run”” 5K race at Sawyer Point Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010, at Ross High School.
Jenna Rahrig cheers on Morgan Elementary School runners as they practice for the “Girls on the Run”” 5K race at Sawyer Point Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010, at Ross High School.
Kim Steigerwald runs with her daughter Emma during Morgan Elementary School’s practice for the “Girls on the Run”” 5K race at Sawyer Point Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010, at Ross High School.
JournalNews photos by Nick Daggy
TOP: Madison Bowman runs during Morgan Elementary School’s practice for the “Girls on the Run”” 5K race at Sawyer Point Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010, at Ross High School.Tweet