Celebrate International Day of the Girl with Girls on the Run virtual 5K

Participants at a previous Girls on the Run event. (BENJAMIN WEATHERSTON, Girls on the Run of Southeastern Michigan)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Run, walk, jump or skip your way to a 5K and support girls in Washtenaw County.

In honor of International Day of the Girl on Oct. 11, Girls on the Run of Southeastern Michigan is hosting a virtual 5K to raise funds for its programs to help girls around Southeast Michigan.

The organization is part of a national program that educates girls from third to eighth grade on issues including healthy eating, body habits, gossiping, bullying and standing up for themselves or others.

Money raised through the virtual 5K goes towards scholarships for girls that want to take part in Girls on the Run’s afterschool programs.

“For us, International Day of the Girl was just aligned with everything that our organization stands for -- a world where, like our mission says, every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to pursue her dreams," said Girls on the Run of Southeastern Michigan Executive Director Rhonda Fields.

Register for the 5K here.

The event is open to anyone wishing to participate and costs $30.

Community members who register will receive a commemorative pin, a multi-functional buff, custom fanny pack, a list of suggested routes in the five counties served by the organization, and a 10-week training plan to prepare for the race.

Participants can walk, run, bike, roll, or hop their way through the 5K either on Oct. 11 or during that weekend. Event participants who submit their 5K completion times are entered into a gift card giveaway.

Participants at a previous Girls on the Run event. (Girls on the Run of Southeastern Michigan)

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Within Washtenaw County, the organization operates in about 50 schools and works with around 900 girls a year across the county.

On average, around 42% of the organization’s participants needed some form of financial assistance but that number may increase due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Fields said that the organization turns 20-years-old next year and has never turned a girl down due to financial needs

“We’re excepting a substantial increase in scholarships, so with registration or even just a donation to our program, we’d be able to serve and support more girls and their requests for scholarships for the season.”

The event’s purpose is two-fold. While it helps raise funds for scholarships, it also acknowledges phenomenal girls in the area. Those who donate $20 can send a small gift to a girl they know so she can celebrate.

Fields said the organization wanted to do something that was engaging for families. Since running a 5K is part of Girls on the Run after-school programs, the virtual event seemed fitting.

Those who register by Sept. 25 will receive their swag by the time of the event.

An example of a route in Washtenaw County for the Girls on the Run of Southeastern Michigan 5K. (Girls on the Run of Southeastern Michigan)

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.