Girls on the Run

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COLUMBIA - The cold weather didn't keep participants from crossing the finish line for the fall session of the Heart of Missouri Girls on the Run.

Girls on the Run is a 10 week program designed to inspire girls third through eighth grade to build self-confidence, leadership and recognize their uniqueness. During the program, girls also train for a 5K, which is the conclusion of the program.

The goal of the program is to teach girls care, confidence, character, connections, contribution and competence. 

Each girl is also given the opportunity to receive a scholarship through the program. 

The event opened up community runners starting the 5K, shortly followed by the girls in the program and ended with a celebration at the finish line.

One parent said they were happy to celebrate this big accomplishment with all the participants.

Each girl had adult running buddies to ensure that they stayed motivated and safe during the race.

There were over 600 participants, 283 of which were the girls in the program.

Each participant received a finisher’s medal.

Executive Director Cheryl Unterschutz said the 5K is just a tool for the program.

"The real focus is on building character and leadership in these girls," Unterschutz said. "What they've left with is not only the accomplishment of completing this race, but also tools they will have as they become young adults, that will help them be intentional decision makers."

Sponsors included Commerce Bank, Missouri Foundation for Health, MU Healthcare, Kilgore's Meidcal Pharmacy and Columbia Parks and Recreation.

The event featured vendors from Supplement Superstores, Start Right, Wildtree and Rockin' Rents Inflatable Entertainment Company.

The next Girls on the Run program will take place in the spring. To learn more and register, please visit their website