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Watch out! This summer GIRLS really will run the world! On June 9th at 8:30 a.m., 13,000 participants, 3,000 spectators and 500 volunteers will come out to Soldier Field for the Girls on the Run 5k run and walk.

Girls on the Run is a non-profit prevention program that encourages preteen girls to develop confidence, character and healthy lifestyles through running. Girls on the Run-Chicago produces the largest girl-centered 5k races in the country- now there’s a whole lot of girl power! The 5k event is the culminating achievement for these girls who have participated in a 12-week after-school training program that takes place at more than 200 schools across Chicagoland. This program inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a curriculum which creatively integrates running. This year, more than 1,000 coaches will mentor these 7,000 girls.

I’m a volunteer coach at Dewey Elementary School in Evanston and I have to say that GOTR practice is the highlight of my week. The passion that these girls have come to show for the program, for representing their school, for each other, and for themselves is incredibly uplifting and gratifying. Each week we tackle issues stemming from the topics of body image, gossiping, confidence, community service and teamwork- then we get outside and run! The program includes girls of different ages and abilities, yet every runner walks away from practice feeling a sense of overwhelming accomplishment.

I can tell you, my runners can’t wait to show off everything they’ve learned- for them, the 5k event really is their chance to shine. So come out to Soldier Field and see what they’ve got! A pre-race rally that includes GOTR cheers, face painting and tiara decorating will take place as well as a finish line festival with great food, games and sponsor giveaways. American Girl Place will also be hosting a pre-5k dinner on Friday, June 8th at 7:30 p.m.

To register your girl for this event, presented by McDonald’s click here!

Race day registration opens at 6:30 a.m. and closes at 8:15 a.m.

Hopefully I’ll see you there!!

By: Lauren Neuschel

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