COVID pandemic doesn't stop Girls on the Run from hosting virtual 5K celebration

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Girls on the Run's (GOTR) mission is to inspire young girls to be joyful, healthy and confident.

"It's been kind of fun," said 11-year-old Asia Clark. "I didn't really think that I could run that far but I was able to do it."

At the end of every season, each girl is able to complete a 5K.

"Year in and year out we have one fabulous story after the next about a girl who found a place where she belongs," said Executive Director Meg Pomerantz. "She was able to achieve something that she didn't imagine that she could achieve. She made new friends."

"It's really fun because at the end you get to run the 5K," Asia said. "You get to do it with all of your friends and all of the coaches and it's fun to run with all of them."

This season is a bit different, instead of running with them in person at the same site, the 5K is now a virtual race that each girl can finish anytime between April 25 and May 25.

"The girls on the run spirit, momentum keeps me going," said Coach Jennifer Hughes Tymkin. "Every day when I'm tired of looking at that computer screen I put on my girls on the run gear and I'm like I've got to keep moving for them. They keep me moving and wanting to get out there and get after it because they're counting on a picture, tweet or message. So I don't want to let them down."

Tymkin joined a few other coaches and ran a 5K around Hunter Elementary School and past a few of the girls' houses to get them excited for their own race.

"It was really, first of all, it was so exciting for us the coaches to see each other in person," she said. "Just to be back at the track and be here together. Running past the girls' houses when they would come outside to see us, it was just so fun to be together running."

Coach Cassandra Boger made an inspirational video for the girls of her and the other coaches running.

"I have just really been enjoying seeing the creativity of our GOTR family out there," said Pomerantz. "How they're really inspiring us in terms of their way to get out and be active."

With all the adapting of this season, Kim says it's teaching the girls a lot of life skills they'll be able to carry with them even after the program ends

"While running is a part of our title it's just the means that we use to help girls find their limitless potential and go after their dreams," Pomerantz said. "I think that this was just another way for the girls to stay connected through this virtual 5K and our at-home activities."
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