The Girls on the Run Spring 5k Celebration was held on Sunday, May 19th at Chesterton High School. Girls on the Run (GOTR) looks to establish quality life characteristics through running and friendship. Various schools from Porter and Lake County participated in this year’s event. Activities included face painting, a runner’s bib decorating station, hair coloring, selfie station, and various other activities.
Jill Schlueter-Kim, Director of the Northwest Indiana department of Girls on the Run, was excited to put on the event once again. She has been involved with Girls on the Run for 12 years and is passionate about the program and what it entails.
“Our mission is to inspire girls to live joyfully, healthy, and confidently and we use a curriculum that incorporates running,” said Kim.
Girls in the program are in grades 3-8 and train for 10 weeks to run a 5k at the end of the season. GOTR is not just a running program, it is a group that teaches valuable skills.
“We teach all about being a good friend, being supportive, living healthy, and giving back to the community through a project we do,” said Kim.
She loves watching how passionate the girls are each year, and loves watching the program grow.
“I started the NWI council for Girls on the Run in 2007, and I had a team of 15 girls; this season we have 1500 girls. I love watching the whole program take off.”
The 5k is the end-of-the-year hoorah for the girls and their families to partake in. All the girls train hard and enjoy the 5k as a celebration. Each school has coaches that meet with the girls to help them learn more about life and running.
Erin Krenkel is the GOTR coach for Jones Elementary in Portage. She was introduced to Girls on the Run through her daughter, who participated in the program.
“At first, I was just my daughters running buddy at the time. I just really loved the experience, and I knew I wanted to bring it to Jones to do it with all my students, not just my daughter,” said Krenkel.
The program is very inspiring to her and she loves seeing the girls engage in a healthy lifestyle. However, training has not been easy the past 10 weeks.
“Mother nature did not want to cooperate with us. We spent a lot of time running in the hallways, which the girls love because they’re always told they can’t run in the hallways,” joked Krenkel.
The event was a success once again, showing all the hard work the girls put into the past 10 weeks. The GOTR girls involved were happy to be there and displayed that with their bright smiles and quick strides.
Keep a look out for future Girls on the Run events coming in the next school year.