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15th annual West Michigan Girls on the Run 5k takes place this weekend

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The 15th annual West Michigan Girls on the Run event will take place Saturday, May 18th.

The 5k run is expected to include more than 1,700 girls and 1,000 runners from the community. Girls in the program range in age from third to eighth grades. Almost 500 volunteers help run the program.

The ten-week program aims to help develop girls' social skills and health knowledge. Elizabeth McEwen is the Communications Coordinator for Girls on the Run in Kent and Muskegon counties. She says Michigan has the most Girls on the Run chapters in the country.

McEwen says, "It really has taken off because it is so much more than just a running program. The running is just a vehicle to deliver the curriculum that is all about life skills and empowerment."

The capstone event is a 5k run. McEwn says, "Studies show that fourth grade is the peak of the average girls' self confidence. So we intentionally target starting at third grade to bolster their self confidence and really embrace who they are." She says running is just a vehicle to deliver those messages.

The run and celebration will be in downtown Grand Rapids. The event will start at Calder Plaza. Acticities will start at 8:30 a.m. and the race will take-off at 8:55 a.m.

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