Fourth- and fifth-grade girls at Higley’s Centennial Elementary School are participating in the Girls on the Run program for the second year in a row. The after-school club meets twice a week to run laps at the school in preparation for a 5K (3.1 miles) to be run later this fall.
This year, more than 300 coaches and 1,200 girls from Maricopa and Pinal Counties are expected to take part in the program.
Lessons on nutrition, peer relationships and self-confidence are taught throughout the semester, with the teacher-coaches leading the girls through fun games and discussion before they even step foot outside.
Moet Espinosa, a fifth-grade student, said she was inspired by her sister, who participated last year in the program.
“I really wanted to do Girls on the Run because she said it was fun and I wanted to meet other girls in the school,” Moet said.
One of her favorite lessons was learning about “negative talk,” she said.
“You need to pull out that negative cord and put in a positive cord to be a Girl on the Run – positive, graceful and happy,” she said.