Cary 5k highlights benefits of running for women

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There's an event just for ladies this evening in Cary. So grab your running shoes and head out to the Koka Booth Amphitheater for an evening of fun. (WTVD)

There's an event just for ladies this evening in Cary. So grab your running shoes and head out to the Koka Booth Amphitheater for an evening of fun.

It starts with a 5k run and ends with post-race festivities that include tapas, a bubbly bar, music and more. It's an event that not only celebrates women. It encourages ladies to get healthy, one step at a time.

The Gildan Esprit De She has become an annual event at locations across the country, including Cary.

Organizers with Lifetime Fitness say the goal is to celebrate and empower women to take control of their health. That's certainly happened for Lifetime member Brittany Pleasant who has lost 90 pounds in the past year.

"Running has helped, and I do personal training here," said Pleasant. "This is the first time in my life that I've ever felt healthy and strong, and it's just great,"

Of course, as she knows, sometimes taking the first steps is the hardest part. So, if you'd like to take up running, here are some tips from Linda Hatfield, a training coach with Lifetime Fitness.

"I would recommend that they start slowly, start gradually," said Hatfield. "Don't do too much too soon. That they start small and build from there."

Hatfield said you'll be surprised how quickly you build up the distance you are able to run.

So, when it comes to getting started running, consider running with a buddy or, better yet, a group. In fact, they have an opportunity for that at Lifetime and you don't have to be a member to take part in it. Hatfield said they have a run club that meets three days a week where all ages and abilities take part in a free group run.

If you need more motivation, keep the benefits of running in mind.

"You can build strength and stamina," said Hatfield. "You've got a stronger heart and then emotionally to a lot of people it empowers them."

That has proven true for Kerriane Anderson, who has been running for 17 years.

"I can't think of a better metaphor for life," said Anderson. "It makes you stronger every single time. You go out there and try something harder. You try a new challenge and you find strength you never even knew you had."

The Gildan Esprit De She event takes place at the Koka Booth Amphitheater at 7 p.m. Thursday.

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