Hundreds of people come out for Girls on the Run 5K in Springfield

Hundreds got moving on Sunday morning at the Girls on the Run 5K race, the day was full of a lot of emotions and our Western Massachusetts.
Published: Nov. 19, 2023 at 3:57 PM EST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Hundreds got moving on Sunday morning at the Girls on the Run 5K race in Springfield.

Reporter: “What are you gonna say to her when she’s on the front lines and she’s running?”

Eleanor: “Good job!”

It’s a mission that starts by putting one foot in front of the other.

Western Mass News was there as runners began their race at Western New England University during the Girls on the Run 5K on Sunday.

We spoke with Ashley Spear, she spoke openly to us about what this means not just for her but every woman and girl watching from the sidelines.

“I have struggled with body image my whole life, always been self-conscious, so just to get out here and try my best and finish always makes me feel good,” expressed Spear.

However, runners hitting the pavement weren’t the only thing filling the roads on campus. Inspiration, confidence, and lots of love was felt too.

Nancy Dranka may not have been in the race, but it didn’t stop her from cheering on someone she loves.

“Emmy is my granddaughter and I think through Girls on the Run she’s become more confident and inspired to go farther,” added Dranka. “So, I’m just here to support her because there is girl power after all.”

Many of the girls, like Emmy, ran these long distances thanks in part to their coaches, who for 10 weeks after school met with young ones for an hour and a half to fill their minds and body with the proper attitudes to run their race.

“A lot of the research shows at the age of nine, girls confidence declines rapidly compared to boys and there’s something about being in a space learning these life skills, learning how to be on a team,” noted Alison Berman, Council Director of Girls on the Run Western Massachusetts.

We caught up with two of those runners once they passed that coveted finish line, they even let us in on the secret to running those 3.1 miles.

“You know what pushed me, I looked at Ren and I said ‘Ren, you know what I like to do at the end of a race, she said, what? Sprint! So when we get to the end we’re gonna sprint and that’s exactly what we did,” said Dakota Marie Dinielli, a runner.

Girls on the Run 5K Western Massachusetts are always looking for volunteers here at girls on the run in western Massachusetts, for more details on how you can become a part of the process, CLICK HERE.