Thousands come out to celebrate Girls on the Run of Western MA 5k

Thousands come out to celebrate Girls on the Run of Western MA 5k
Updated: Jun. 5, 2022 at 6:15 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Girls on the Run of Western MA hosted its 5k at Western New England University Sunday morning. The group is a physical activity-based youth development program that uses fun running games and dynamic discussions to teach life skills to girls.

“Girls on the Run is so much fun,” said 5th grader Emmalia Rousseau.

Girls in grades 3rd to 8th, parents, and running buddies came out to run 3.1 miles at Western New England University Sunday morning. About 3,000 people showed up to support Girls on the Run, and some even trained for the 5k.

“Every Monday and Wednesday, we would go outside and we would run around,” Rousseau told us. “We would, like, get lap counters and we would practice. We even did a practice 5k which was 3 miles.”

Speaking with the organizer Sunday, we asked her if there is a prize for first, second, or third place. She told us that everyone who runs the race is a winner.

“This is a non-competitive event,” said director Alison Berman. “It’s just about being able to achieve a goal, so for some kids, they never even walked three miles. Some have done it, so it’s about setting a goal and being able to achieve it.”

The girl who did come in first place was 9-year-old Nimah Skelton of Northampton. Skelton finished in 28 minutes. Each Girls on the Run girl had a running buddy, and Nimah chose her sister as hers.

“She actually hasn’t run a lot before,” Nimah said when asked why she chose her sister as her running buddy. “She practiced two times before this.”

We also asked how the two sisters kept each other motivated.

“I have an apple watch, so I was like, ‘Oh there’s only one more mile left. Come on, we’re almost first,’ and then we did finish in first,” Nimah’s sister, Maeve Skelton, told us.

“And then we sprinted to get in front of the first person,” Nimah added.

If you would like to learn more about Girls on the Run, you can find more information on their website.