Molly Barker, Girls on the Run International founder, will kick off the 2009 New Balance Girls on the Run 5K on Saturday, May 23, in Biltmore Park. The New Balance Girls on the Run 5K is the culminating event for participants in the 14-week Girls on the Run Program and will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning.
A MSW and four-time Hawaii Ironman triathlete, Molly used her expertise in counseling and teaching — along with research on adolescent issues — to found the nonprofit in 1996. Girls on the Run’s mission is to educate and prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living. The innovative, experiential program combines training for a 5K event with life-changing, self-esteem-building lessons that enhance social, physical and mental health in 8- to 12-year-old girls. Today, there are Girls on the Run® programs in more than 150 cities across North America. The New Balance Girls on the Run 5K is one of 70 end-of-season events in the United States and Canada.
Girls on the Run of WNC first offered the program in 2002 in Buncombe County, serving 15 girls. By 2008, the program had grown to serve about 1,300 girls in 12 WNC counties. The spring 2009 session has 36 sites across WNC and 841 participating girls. The community is encouraged to join the event as a volunteer or Running Buddy, cheering the girls along or assisting on run day. If you would like to register as a Running Buddy, please visit the Web site at www.gotrwnc.org/5K.
Registration is $20 per Running Buddy.