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/* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} Twenty-nine girls in grades three through six competed in a 5K race in Grand Junction, Colo., on Saturday, May 3 as part of the BEACON Afterschool Program's “Girls on the Run.” [Photo courtesy of Sara Hinck]

The BEACON Afterschool Program combined training for a 5K event with lessons geared toward improving the mental and physical health of the students, which culminated in 29 third-through-sixth grade girls wrapping up their Girls on the Run (GOTR) season on Saturday, May 3 in Grand Junction, Colo.

The girls began their training in mid-February and all the girls reached their goal of completing the 5K, according to a press release.

The Grand Junction 5K was about finishing, not winning, but sixth-grader Ali Hirt finished first overall – out of more than 2000 students –  in 23 minutes and 51 seconds. Her goal was to beat her time from the previous year and went well beyond that. Another notable student was Julia Crane, who participated in GOTR all four years she was eligible.

The girls put a lot of work into the lessons and their training, yet still had plenty of time to have fun, said Sara Hinck of the BEACON Afterschool Program.

“GOTR is a good opportunity to meet new friends and run,” Moab Charter School third-grader Maggie Groene said. And

Third-grade home-school student Bella Welch said she didn’t like running that much, but after getting involved with GOTR, she learned to love it.

“I had fun seeing if I could beat my time until I had an injury,” she said. “Then I got to cheer on everybody else. I would like to do GOTR next year, and then my sister will be old enough to do it, too”

Girls run toward physical and mental wellbeing