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Girls on the Run Event Set for May 20

More than 1,000 girls will run in this year's event as Girls on the Run of Southeastern Michigan celebrates its 10th anniversary.

Girls on the Run of Southeastern Michigan celebrates its 10th anniversary  Sunday, May 20, when 1,071 girls will run 3.1 miles with their coaches, families, friends, teachers and community members.

The 5k, presented by St. Joseph Mercy Health System and hosted by Eastern Michigan University, is a non-competitive, celebration event and is endorsed by the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness. Participants finish on the 50-yard line of EMU’s Rynearson stadium.  The Girls on the Run Celebration Expo take places from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the day of the run. There will be food, music, entertainment, an inflatable slide, bounce house, face painting and more.

To mark the 10th anniversary, organizaers have added a new timed 10k course. Runners will receive a ten-year anniversary tee shirt and commemorative medal.

“All of the funds raised from this very special event are used to support our scholarship program” said Danielle Plunkett, Girls on the Run of Southeastern Michigan’s executive director. “We are very proud to say that in ten years we have never turned a girl away for her family’s inability to pay our program registration fee!”

Girls on the Run is a non-profit organization that "envisions a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams."

The Southeastern Michigan council was founded in 2001 to serve Washtenaw, Jackson, Lenawee, Monroe and Livingston counties. The program hosts two ten-week seasons, one in the spring and one in the fall. The curriculum-based program for girls in grades 3-8 uses the power of running to help prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living.

According to the organization, girls of this age are more open to positive peer influences, supportive adult role models, and the confidence enhancing lessons that are parts of the Girls on the Run experience. Twice-weekly lessons and interactive activities are led by trained volunteer coaches who guide and mentor the girls through an uplifting curriculum that focuses on life-long skills to improve emotional and physical health. Girls complete the program with a stronger sense of identity, a healthier body image and an understanding of what it means to be part of a team.

The program culminates in a non-competitive 5K event which gives the girls a chance to shine and an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.

“The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in all grade levels, girls engage in significantly less physical activity than do boys. This difference becomes more pronounced as girls enter middle and high schools. Studies show that that exercise serves as a fundamental component of emotional health, self-empowerment, and self-esteem for girls, leading to higher self-respect, healthier life choices, and avoidance of self-destructive behaviors.” said Plunkett. “At Girls on the Run we use training for and running a 5k event as a metaphor to inspire our participants to set other BIG goals in their lives, to push their limits, prepare for the challenge and then celebrate their successes.”

The Girls on the Run 5k series, with more than 200 events across the United States and Canada, is the largest youth focused 5k series in the world.

Hundreds of volunteers are needed to make this event possible. All volunteers receive refreshments, an event t-shirt and the satisfaction of knowing they are helping change lives! If you or a group you know are interested in volunteering contact Rhonda@girlsontherunsemi.org.

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