Moffat County girls among hundreds of Girls on the Run Saturday | CraigDailyPress.com
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Moffat County girls among hundreds of Girls on the Run Saturday

Girls from all over Western Colorado gather with coaches and parents to run a 5K as the culminating event of Girls on the Run, an after-school program that promotes fitness and self-esteem in young girls.
Cuyler Meade / Craig Press

Girls across the Western Slope ran in a 5K Saturday in Steamboat Springs after weeks of training through the nonprofit Girls on the Run.

From Steamboat Springs and Craig to Aspen and Glenwood Springs, groups of young girls have met throughout the fall in small teams to learn team building skills and build confidence.

The non-competitive run featured many parents joining their daughters in the quest to finish the race together. Girls on the Run has two separate age groups for its programs: one for 3rd through 5th graders and the other for 6th through 8th graders. In total, 41 girls from Moffat County participated this season.



Katie Zulian, a teacher in the Moffat County School District and one of the organizers and coaches of Moffat County students, said that this year’s group was larger than normal, which could stem from the girls’ excitement to come back after Girls on the Run was canceled last year. Zulian, who coached the Sunset Elementary girls this year, added that she started a team to spend time with her students while also encouraging them to be confident and develop healthy habits.

“It was so empowering to see them all finish and cheer one another on,” Zulian said. “They really did a great job at working as a Girls on the Run team.”



The Sunset Elementary Girls on the Run team poses for a photo at Steamboat Springs Middle School before their 5K run Saturday.
Cuyler Meade / Craig Press

The program’s curriculum is divided into three parts: “Understanding ourselves,” “Valuing relationships and teamwork” and “Recognizing how we can shape the world at large.” Through these parts, organizers hope that its lessons encourage a strong body and mind connection and confidence through accomplishments. According to Girls on the Run, after completing the programs, 97% of girls said they learned critical life skills including resolving conflict, helping others or making intentional decisions.

“Each lesson in the program has a time for reflecting and a time for exercising,” Zulian said. “The first half of each of our sessions would have a theme and a matching life skill such as friendship, finding our ‘star power’ or our strengths, responding to conflict, believing in ourselves, et cetera. The second part of each lesson was geared towards setting an exercise or lap goal and having the girls push toward meeting that goal.”

At Saturday’s 5K run, hundreds of girls donned pink shirts to finish the race, cheered on by their families and other spectators at tSteamboat Springs Middle School.

“Programs like Girls on the Run are important to build relationships outside of the classroom. It was great to see girls make connections with others that they might not have had the chance to get to know,” Zulian said. “It also encourages girls to speak up for themselves and be confident in who they are, along with just becoming healthier. It gives them a love for running that they never knew they had.”

 


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