COLUMBIA - The Heart of Missouri Girls on the Run Columbia chapter celebrated the end of its fall season Saturday morning with a 5K at Bethel Park.
The 3.1 mile race kicked off at 8 a.m. with a community race right after. Each girl and her running buddy bundled up and cradled cups of hot cocoa before the race to try to warm up in the chilly morning.
The Girls on the Run program is for third through fifth grade girls. This is its third season and it has tripled in size compared to last year, as six schools are now part of Girls on the Run. The girls trained for ten weeks for the 5K, practicing twice a week after school.
Dawn Brown is the board chairman and fund raising coordinator for the program. She said even though the girls had lengthy training for the race, Girls on the Run is about more than just running.
"We want them to learn how to handle bullying, peer pressure, gossip. That they are beautiful the way they are, they don't have to strive to be like anyone else or any image they see in a magazine or on television," Brown said.
The girls received medals to conclude the celebration at the finish line.