Girls on the Run: Local running program empowers young girls

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Girls on the Run Rio Grande is so much more than a fun 5k training program. Many third through fifth grade girls in Bernalillo and Valencia counties call it a refuge.

"We’re the only national base, physical activity, positive youth development program out there, addressing all the social and conflicting messages that girls get," said Girls on the Run Rio Grande Council Director Angelica Turrieta. "We are trying to give them the tools to make good decisions, address the peer pressure component, and also try to help with the social isolation now, especially during COVID."

The girls were excited to train for the spring 5k this past Sunday – the first since 2019.

"We actually have five different schools, we have six teams, so our goal this year was to start with 50 girls, but we actually had more interest than we had anticipated,” Turrieta said. “So we actually are running the program, first time post-COVID, with 87 girls, which is huge."

Turrieta added that for now, the program only offers a spring running event.

“Eventually, if we get enough schools and funding, we can definitely do two different seasons," she said.

Almost 85% of the girls who participate in this program need financial support. Girls on the Run covers entry fees and a 10-week program with lesson plans on setting goals, boosting confidence and exercise. Officials say they are already looking for community support for their next season.

"Financial donations are always helpful,” Turrieta said. “If you have a company or small business, obviously, we’d love to have you. For $1,000, you can have your name on a t-shirt, and that would actually fund an entire team, which is what we’re looking for."

To learn more about registering a child, coaching or volunteering at future Girls on the Run events, click here.

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