RUTLAND – The fifth annual Girls on the Run Vermont event took place last Saturday at the Rutland fairgrounds.
Nancy Heydinger, executive director of Girls on the Run Vermont, called the event an empowerment program for elementary and middle-school girls.
An event like the one May 13 is the culmination of weeks of hard work, according to Heydinger.
“It’s to celebrate the accomplishments and all the hard work that the girls did throughout the season, the life skills that they’re learning and practicing along with their running, so when it comes to 5K day,” she said. “It’s a celebration of the girls. It’s a very party-like atmosphere.”
Face painting, silly hair styling and dancing allowed the runners to mix, mingle and relax before the run. All of the runners wore a bib with the No. 1. The event is noncompetitive and there are no awards for placement, but runners were clocked for those who want to challenge themselves.
The national Girls on the Run organization has about 200 chapters around the country. The Vermont chapter serves about 2,800 girls from about 150 schools at three events. Besides Rutland, there are events in Brattleboro and Essex Junction.
This year’s Rutland event included more than 600 girls from about 40 schools who took part in the 5K, including students from Rutland Town, Rutland City, Fair Haven, Castleton, Poultney and Wallingford.