Girls on the Run of Central Virginia will return to Sweet Briar College on Saturday, Nov. 21, for one of two Celebration 5K races held each year on campus. The start time for this year’s fall event is 10 a.m., with pre-race activities beginning at 8:30 a.m. Assistant professor of music Marcia Thom-Kaley will sing the National Anthem during the opening presentation.
A non-competitive “fun run,” the 5K caps the fall program for the region’s Girls on the Run council. Central Virginian girls ages 8 to 13 have been training for 10 to 12 weeks in preparation for the event, which recognizes and celebrates their efforts.
As in years past, the race will start and finish near the train station, winding through parts of campus, along the Dairy Loop past the dairy barns and riding center, through woods and fields and up and down hills.
This year, there will be an additional fall run in Charlottesville on Nov. 15 to accommodate the large number of participants, says council director Mary Hansen.
“[We wanted to] keep our numbers reasonable at SBC, and create a presence in the greater Charlottesville area,” Hansen said.
Roughly 450 girls are expected to participate on Nov. 21, along with about 150 coaches and volunteers, and more than 150 community runners. Hansen estimates that there will be about 800 people on the course “when all is said and done.”
Girls on the Run provides volunteer opportunities for Sweet Briar students, faculty and staff, as well as others in the local community. Volunteers typically help with set-up, direct traffic, serve as running buddies, and staff pre-race activities such as face-painting and “happy-hair” tables. Members of the Sweet Briar and Amherst community are encouraged to watch and cheer on the runners along the route.
Sweet Briar is a proud supporter of Girls on the Run and its mission to “inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.” The College began partnering with the Lynchburg-area council five years ago to provide a venue for the spring and fall 5K races.
Hansen says she is more than excited to continue that tradition.
“We are thrilled, relieved and totally stoked to be back at SBC,” she said, referring to the settlement announced in June that kept the College open.
“Last season’s run was so difficult. The event went well and everything was fine, but we were sad and knew you all were especially so. We are so happy to be back with you and the rest of the SBC community!”