Supplied photo courtesy of the Wilmington Family YMCA
The OrthoWilmington 5k will take place Saturday, May 18, starting and ending at the First Baptist Activity Center at 1939 Independence Blvd.
While learning about physical health, goal setting and confidence, girls and boys across the county have been running toward their 5k goals, many with friends and family, by way of the Girls on the Run and Stride programs of Coastal Carolina.
The Girls on the Run program is for third through fifth grade girls, while Stride is offered to third through sixth grade boys, with no previous running experience required.
Both nonprofit programs are funded by fees, donations, grants and assistance from the Wilmington Family YMCA, where Krystal Warner is the event coordinator for each and said that this year attracted about 370 girls and 160 boys to the two programs.
Though the Girls on the Run and Stride programs are found throughout New Hanover, Pender, Sampson, and Columbus county elementary schools, including Wrightsville Beach School, Warner said that the programs are not yet fully established in all of the schools in these counties.
“It depends on volunteer recruitment. If you want it at your school, you would just have to dedicate two days a week for about an hour and a half for 10 weeks,” she said.
Throughout the 10 weeks of training Warner said that the groups of young runners of all skill levels work their way up to three miles, going at a pace that feels comfortable to them.
“They build themselves up. It starts off little where they run maybe a mile, and in the beginning they don’t really count the time, and eventually, they grow into the three miles with timed running,” she said.
Warner said that the OrthoWilmington 5k is one of six races of the 2013 spring season that helps provide scholarships to children who need assistance to participate in Girls on the Run and Stride, and participants may sign up with a “running buddy” from the programs.
“It’s a public race, however, there are running buddies with our girls and boys in the programs, which is really nice because it encourages families to come along and get the community out there and running with their kids,” she said.
Even if adult runners do not sign up as a running buddy, they may still register, as proceeds from the race still benefit the programs and future participants.
The OrthoWilmington 5k starts and ends at the First Baptist Activity Center at 1939 Independence Blvd., beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 18. Packet pickup is Friday, May 17 from 4-6 p.m. at OrthoWilmington located at 3787 Shipyard Blvd.
Registration now until the day of the race is $35, and pre-registrations can be made at www.sportoften.com, keyword “ortho.”
For more information about Girls on the Run or Stride, visit www.nckidsrun.org