Craig kids learn to overcome obstacles, stay strong in Girls on the Run | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig kids learn to overcome obstacles, stay strong in Girls on the Run

Those who pick up an activity like running at an early age will set themselves on pace for a healthier lifestyle, and the benefits are many for those who engage in the Girls on the Run program.

More than 50 Craig girls will participate in the Girls on the Run 5K event Saturday morning in Steamboat Springs, among dozens more who have been involved in the program along the Western Slope this year.

Three teams have been practicing weekly at the local level at sites including East, Ridgeview, Sandrock and Sunset elementary schools. While the goal of each practice is to continue to progress in running prowess, there are many moving pieces within that.

"It's so good for them emotionally and physically," said Autumn Tatman, a member of the Sunset group's coaching staff.

GOTR features a 10-week curriculum for female athletes in grades three through five through the sport of running to enhance their body, as well as their image of themselves and the people around them.

"We start with helping the girls get a better understanding of who they are and what's important to them," states the website for Girls on the Run of Western ColoradoGirls on the Run of Western Colorado. “Then, we look at the importance of teamwork and healthy relationships. And, finally, the girls explore how they can positively connect with and shape the world.”. "Then, we look at the importance of teamwork and healthy relationships. And, finally, the girls explore how they can positively connect with and shape the world."

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Girls on the Run of Western Colorado. "Then, we look at the importance of teamwork and healthy relationships. And, finally, the girls explore how they can positively connect with and shape the world."

Melissa Forbes, a coach with the Sandrock group, said the program's larger focus on building bonds among runners can often have more of an effect than running itself.

"Some of them are here because they want to have the girl time, there's a lot of friendship skills like getting along with people and how to solve problems," she said.

Practices can consist of warm-ups with games, discussions about listening to one's body while running or the full 5K experience.

The rugged terrain of the Colorado landscape can prove intimidating for some novice runners, and rather than emphasizing the race element, organizers prefer to motivate girls to stay the course and finish the 3.1-mile trek even when the going gets tough.

"I’m continuously amazed by these girls," said East coach Tiffany Trevenen. "It’s all for them, to help them grow into themselves."

East fifth-graders Kenleigh Pubance and Taylor Powell have been involved in GOTR for most of their time in elementary school, including the season finale in Steamboat.

Teammate Lillian Burke, a fourth-grader, is in her first year running, but all three girls have the same assessment of the program.

"It's so much fun," they said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.