Women and girls dress up for Diva Dash
COLUMBIA - Columbia kicks off its second Diva Dash 5K and Lil Princess Fun Run Sunday morning at Corporate Lake.
The annual all-women race is open to people of all ages.
"It's a run to celebrate women and girls the fact that we're pretty awesome. They do this particularly race all round of the center of the country," said Cheryl Unterschutz, executive director of the Heart of Missouri Girls on the Run.
Participants over 8 years old ran in a 5K race (around 3.1 miles), and girls who are 8 or younger had a fun run of 50-200 yards based on their ages.
Unterschutz said running can be beneficial for younger girls to gain confidence.
As of Saturday afternoon, more than 200 women and girls had registered to participate in this year's race, and half of them were ages 8 or under.
"They get these very awesome T-shirts. These are very cool. And they get the opportunities to dress up in tutus and other fun things to just really celebrate being girls and women. And they do get a chance to run a fairly challenging course out of Corporate Lake," Unterschutz said.
She said the Girls on the Run program has helped many girls in Missouri by focusing on running.
"We incorporate running as part of our tool to teach girls about self-confidence to teach them about stress reduction and how to manage to programs to deterring or handling bullying if girls encounter it," Unterschutz said.
She said she's seen many successful examples of how running helps girls achieve their goals.
"The neat thing about running is that you can either do it independently by yourself, or you can do it with a group. And either way you're able to learn about setting goals and then achieving those goals because running is a very tangible goal," Unterschutz said.
The organizer said the youngest participant was only two years old and the oldest was over 80.