Strong pace, stronger self-esteem: Girls on the Run benefits young Craig athletes physically, emotionally | CraigDailyPress.com

Strong pace, stronger self-esteem: Girls on the Run benefits young Craig athletes physically, emotionally

With each step Saturday, young runners were not only building their endurance for the path ahead but also increasing their toughness for whatever life throws at them as they get older.

Girls on the Run of Western Colorado hosted its yearly 5K in Steamboat Springs, and among the harriers taking on the terrain were a few dozen representing Craig.

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.

Since the school year began, elementary school-aged girls from East, Ridgeview and Sandrock have been lacing up their running shoes, though the physical training is only part of the overall message.

Melissa Forbes oversees the Sandrock team — which included one runner from Sunset Elementary School — Erika Miller coaches Ridgeview and Tiffany Trevenen East.

"The running is a bit on the side. We do run, but it’s a curriculum about 'girl stuff' and strategies to learn about and strengthen our self-esteem, emotions, friendships, and who we want to be," Trevenen said. "We don’t always enjoy running, but it’s a lesson on perseverance and every girl every time loves crossing that finish line and feels a sense of pride and accomplishment. It’s amazing."

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Besides being able to finish the 3.1-mile course with their heads held high, runners come away with a lot more, added Forbes. Her group also participated in a side project recently, painting rocks in rainbow colors to promote kindness and friendship in the school.

"As coaches we are so proud of all of them," she said.

The amount of bonding between girls is also important, Trevenen said, noting that one of her runners finished the 5K with tears in her eyes — not because of too much exertion but because her GOTR experience had concluded.

"Some feel such a sense of belonging," Trevenen said.