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Girls on the Run builds hamstrings and confidence

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Girls on the Run is an international program that gathers young women together, building running skills through the preparation for and completion of a  5 kilometer run. That's a little over 3.1 miles

In Homer, South Peninsula Haven House sponsors the program. They're having their first meeting on Tuesday, March 23.  Marcee Gray from Haven House is one of the organizers.

"It's for girls 3rd through 5th grade.  The 5K does not have to be run. It can be walked, combination thereof ...scooting. Whatever it is, as long, as in life, we're moving forward," said Gray

 It's more of a rally than a race. The rewards are the benefits of mentorship and teamwork . May says those benefits last a lifetime. 

"The emphasis is on building confidence and self respect, self esteem and respect for others, and we're all going to learn how to train to be able to do some running...should be a lot of fun," Gray said.

 The international program is over 20 years old. In Homer, Haven House has been calling young runners together for about 8 years. As with every activity in the past year, there are changes. In the past, Girls on the Run met in the West Homer Elementary gymnasium, but this year, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they'll meet outside in the parking lot at the end of the school day for warm ups, and then, make their way to Karen Hornaday Park.

"Once we're up there, we have some games and activities that we do to help explore and learn things about ourselves and others. With our goal being a little bit of conditioning every day to get ourselves up to the 5K goal," Gray said.

 Older kids and adult runners are invited to participate as mentors. Gray says she is looking for at least one adult to volunteer to help coach. Also, junior high and high school runners are invited to join in and act as mentors for the young runners.

"Girls on the Run has programs for those junior coaches to come up through the program. Anyone who is interested, I encourage them to contact me. This is a prevention program run through Haven House to get kids into healthy choices and to encourage health growth and behaviors.,  said Gray. 

Girls in 3rd through 5th grades, and any young women runners interested in being mentors, can sign up for Girls on the Run by contacting South Peninsula Haven House at 235-7712 or email

Health South Peninsula Haven HouseWest Homer ElementaryGirls on the Run
Kathleen Gustafson came to Homer in 1999 and has been involved with KBBI since 2003.