Northern Virginia’s Girls on the Run Descends on Bristow

The first corral takes off running from Jiffy Lube Live in the Girls on the Run 5K on Nov. 18, 2012. Families from Arlington, Alexandria, Loudoun, Fairfax, Prince William, Manassas and Falls Church participated in the run in Bristow.

More than 3200 girls from all over Northern Virginia descended on Bristow Sunday morning to participate in the Girls on the Run 5K at Jiffy Lube Live on Nov. 18.

Girls on the Run is a curriculum-based development program for elementary age girls that combines distance running with programs to help girls develop confidence and positive relationships.

“We train our volunteer coaches to focus on the whole girl: emotionally, socially, and physically and to help the girls have increased self-esteem and self-confidence,” said Executive Director of Girls on the Run in Northern Virginia Catherine Keightley.

Keightley believes that both components are equally important so girls can grow up with a positive perception of themselves.

“Some of the things we talk about are getting to know yourself; understanding what it means to be a good friend; anti-bullying; how the media represents girls, and how it’s not accurate,” Keightley said.

Bristow elementary schools T. Clay Wood and Bristow Run were among the almost 200 Northern Virginia schools that participated. Bristow Run even had two running clubs attending, a morning and afternoon group.

Bristow Run had two teams, a morning an afternoon team. Their girls were eager and excited to run on Sunday. BRE coaches are Amy Hutcherson and Julie Kanter.

At 8 a.m., girls and their “buddy runners” (parents, older siblings, other relatives or friends) warmed up for their event by hopping around or jogging in place. Many were dressed in athletic gear with pink bows, hats or hair spray. To keep everyone moving, a D.J. played up-beat pop music that could be heard for miles around Bristow.

“It’s fun. It gets the adrenaline pumped,” said Sadie of Bristow Run, who was warming up before her race. “I always feel like that running. It’s a good sport to key me really awake and pumped.”

Sadie’s friend Alyssa had an equally positive review of the running program.

“We get a lot of exercise, and have fun doing activities. I pretty much like everything (about Girls on the Run)” said Alyssa of Bristow Run.

Team T.Clay Wood dressed in red to show team pride. Coaches include Anna Collins, Jen Ramsey, Amy Cunningham and Ashley Downs.

Over in the Green Corral, Teresa from T.Clay Wood was preparing to run with her sister Rachel, who attends Patriot High School. However, Teresa began her training for the Run back in September at T.Clay.

Rachel was excited to help her little sister follow in her footsteps, saying, “I used to do Girls on the Run when I was in fifth grade.”

After the race, girls were still excited, though a bit cold.

“It was good,” said Alyson Nottingham of Arlington. “There were a lot of hills. I think I got around 30 minutes (for my time.)”

Alyson’s dad said the most exciting part for him was when they ran over an overpass and received honks from passing cars.

Elise, who attends Collin Powell Elementary School in Centreville, said it was tiring, but well worth it.

Teresa of T.Clay Wood ran with her sister, Rachel of Patriot High School. Rachel also participated in Girls on the Run in 2008.

“After I crossed the finish line, it felt good,” Elise said.

After the race, many stood in line for gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, while others ran to their cars to beat the traffic.

For a lot of parents, it was inspiring to see that Girls on the Run was such a large movement in Northern Virginia.

“A lot of folks think that the program is just at their school. We think that’s good because it means that the program is very community- focused,” Keightley said.


© 2012, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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Category: Community, Health and Fitness

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