Up North: New 5K empowers girls to find fun in running

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This past Saturday a special event took place on the Duluth Lakewalk, where girls from 3rd to 8th grade came out to compete in a new 5K just for girls.

The Girls on the Run 5K is a positive activity program that uses different games and dynamics to teach life lessons and skills to girls in the Northland.

"Today we are celebrating the first ever season of girls on the run in Duluth. Girls on the Run Minnesota, is a curriculum based youth development program. It’s designed to develop and enhance girls competencies to navigate life in general," said Program Director Heidi Schuchman.

During the program which runs a total of eight weeks, girls are able to learn lessons that create confidence, build connections with friends, while also encouraging service within the community.

"It’s a really special way for families and community members to connect with youth in a way that is an active event," added Schuchman.

The sessions are always supervised by trained volunteer coaches. Each runner even had an adult running buddy along side them, for a total of 100 participants that came out. Which also included Duluth Mayor Emily Larson.

"One of the reasons I love to run is because its hard and like when I’m done, I feel like I got one hard thing done today," the mayor proclaimed.

Part of this process to empower young girls, is also working with their parents to create a strong bond.

Schuchman closed by saying, "It’s really important to model healthy habits for our kids, but also to make the connection with moving our bodies to how that effects our brains and our hearts. Recognizing that they are things that we can do ourselves and with our kids to feel better, feel more positive, and really get healthy, and stay healthy."

While this event marked the season finale for the organiztion, they hope to bring back the Girls on the Run 5K next year.