Girls on the Run program culminates with Saturday’s 5K in Steamboat |

Girls on the Run program culminates with Saturday’s 5K in Steamboat

Event paired with Winter Running Series race

Soda Creek Elementary School student Emory Pittman leads a group of young runners during a Girls on the Run training session at the downtown Steamboat Springs elementary school Wednesday afternoon. The 10-week after-school program, which seeks to empower young girls through training and life lessons, will come to a conclusion Saturday with a 5-kilometer run.

— It's about more than the times, the improvement and the exercise, Shannon Casson said.

She is reminded why she's been involved with the Girls on the Run program every time she sees a student finish the season-ending 5-kilometer run, their faces flushed with satisfaction.

"It's probably one of the most meaningful programs I've ever been involved with," said Casson, race director for Saturday's Girls on the Run 5K in Steamboat Springs.

"It culminates with that 5K, and that's a huge accomplishment for the girls, and I love the sense of pride you see on their faces," she said. "I hope they can carry that confidence into the other parts of their lives."

That's the hope of Casson and the entire program. Girls on the Run seeks to empower young girls through a 10-week after-school program.

The girls train throughout the program for the season-ending 5K, which is set for 10 a.m. Saturday at Steamboat Springs Middle School in Steamboat Springs. The training, though, isn't about racking up miles on the road or counting down intervals on the track. It's about knocking through barriers.

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"The mission of Girls on the Run is to provide an affordable and accessible after-school program for girls that prepares them for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living," Casson said in an email.

Casson said more than 500 girls are expected to participate in Saturday's race, which will be coupled with a Steamboat Springs Winter Running Series event that will run the same out-and-back course from the middle school and start at 9 a.m.

The Girls on the Run participants will include about 150 Routt County runners plus hundreds more from Hayden and South Routt schools, as well as students from Moffat, Summit and Eagle counties. The event has been held in Grand Junction in past years but was moved to Steamboat this year to be closer to the participating schools.

"It will be really great for the community of Steamboat," she said.

The event is open to everyone, though the cost varies. Girls on the Run participants and coaches can run for free, but moms, dads, friends, brothers and everyone else are encouraged to participate as well. Children younger than 16 pay $1 per year of age. Adults can pay $20 to register at or pay $35 on race day.

A post-race barbecue costs $10 for adults and $5 for children younger than 13.

— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email

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