A determined group of Tecumseh Middle School girls tackled and conquered a long 5K run in the early hours of Saturday, May 13 at the University of Dayton’s Welcome Stadium. The run was the culmination of the girls’ year in Tecumseh Middle School’s new chapter of Girls on the Run, an international organization with a mission to empower adolescent girls.

Physical Education teacher, Sheli Randall, serves as the advisor to the local chapter, which is part of the new “Heart & Sole” Middle School program from Girls on the Run. Randall explains that Heart & Sole offers 21 lessons that incorporate running while teaching emerging teenage girls how to support each other and build strong brains, bodies, and spirits during their journey into adolescence.

Both Randall and the organization’s website say the purpose of the 5K run is not to race, but to inspire girls to accomplish a goal by giving them a tangible sense of achievement. It also gives members a framework for setting and achieving life goals.

All thirteen girls in Tecumseh Middle School’s group completed the 5K in Dayton, which is one of over 350 other 5Ks hosted by Girls on the Run. Tecumseh’s students were not alone on the track either. The teachers, Library Aides, and other adults who volunteer as trained coaches for the group served as running buddies, encouraging and inspiring the young ladies during their long run and modeling perseverance in the face of a challenge.

The Middle School pays nothing to host Girls on the Run. The organization supplied Randall with the books, tools, and other supplies the chapter needed. A debit card was also provided to help pay for snacks. Randall says the girls enjoyed the Girls on the Run program so much, they decided to continue meeting twice a week to run and do yoga after the formal program was completed.

Member fees to participate in Girls on the Run are based on a sliding scale according to each family’s income. Randall says some local sponsors stepped up to help cover some of the costs. Up and Running Fitness provided running shoes for the students, and the Springfield Foundation donated $500 to the chapter.

Some of the donated funds went towards gifting each girl with an inspiring running shoe charm for the 5K. The charms’ slogan reflects the ideals taught to each of Tecumseh’s young Girls on the Run:

“She Believed She Could, So She Did.”

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