Seeing purple

Girls run on the UW Memorial Fieldhouse track Tuesday afternoon during a She’s A Runner Girl practice session.

A new 5k this spring celebrates a group of girls who have spent the last six weeks working on their fitness and confidence.

The Purple 5k Run is the culminating event for She’s A Runner Girl, a running program for girls in grades 2-6 in Albany County.

The run is scheduled for 9 a.m. May 5, starting and ending at the University of Wyoming War Memorial Fieldhouse. Registration is $10 for family members of Runner Girl participants and past participants or $15 for community members.

The course will take runners and walkers on a loop around the UW campus.

She’s A Runner Girl, now in its eighth year, has traditionally piggy-backed on the Hapi-ness 5k, with participants running that race to culminate their training. However, race director Peggy McCrackin said the mid-May date of the Hapi-ness has never fit with the Runner Girl schedule quite right.

The Hapi-ness 5k, scheduled this year for May 12, takes place after the UW semester is over and most students, including Runner Girl volunteer coaches, have left town.

“We always lost our coaches because they’re almost all university students and they would leave,” she said. “They’ve been part of the program for six weeks, and then they couldn’t be part of the whole reason for the program.”

The Purple 5k Run is also a way for She’s A Runner Girl to raise money, as proceeds will benefit the program in future years. The program currently costs $20, with scholarships available.

“We’re looking more towards sustainability and trying to be able to sustain our program financially without increasing the fees,” she said.

This year, about 85 girls and 40 coaches have been meeting at the fieldhouse for weekly training sessions. At each session, runners and coaches set goals, play games, learn about proper running form and tally laps on the indoor track.

During their most recent session, they ran for about half an hour, their longest run so far. McCrackin said the 3.1-mile distance of the Purple 5k Run is doable for young runners and gives them a goal for which to train.

While not every participant might develop a life-long love of running, McCrackin said she hopes they do take away lessons about setting goals and working to meet challenges that might seem difficult at first.

Pre-registration is encouraged, as the race-day registration cost increases to $25. Participants will receive a purple-themed gift.

Awards will be given to the top three finishers in divisions by elementary school grade, 7-12 grade and high school and older.

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