NORTHAMPTON — Girls on the Run (GOTR) Western Massachusetts is preparing for its celebratory 5K run on Saturday, Nov. 14. With modifications in place and close attention paid to current Massachusetts and GOTR guidelines, some teams will be able to run their 5K at their site, in person, and also attend the virtual 5K, while community members are encouraged to participate in a virtual 5K to support the organization.
Traditionally the fall GOTR 5K is held at Smith College, where all teams, coaches, and families come together to celebrate the girls’ achievements throughout the program. During the 20-lesson curriculum, which was shorted to 16 lessons this season due to the pandemic, girls learn social and emotional skills, such as how to manage emotions, establish boundaries, develop confidence, and resolve conflict — all skills that girls can use now and in the future to cope with life challenges. These lessons help to create resiliency among participants and are life skills that youth in the community can use during this difficult and unique time.
This season, thanks to collaboration with local parks and recreation departments and YMCAs, including the Hampshire Regional YMCA, 14 teams and just over 140 girls are participating in the fall 2020 season — fewer than the typical season, which averages 75 teams and 1,400, but GOTR leaders are pleased to have been able to successfully provide in-person and virtual programing to girls at a time when they need it the most. This was due in part to program modifications that included smaller team sizes, a shortened program, and social-distancing modifications to activities to keep girls and their coaches safe.
The GOTR virtual 5K is open to the community and is offered to additional family members and community runners who wish to participate. Registration is $20 and includes a downloadable run bib and training schedule, financial assistance is available as needed. Register at www.girlsontherunwesternma.