By Beth Christian Broschart
A total of 91 Girls on the Run participants, age 9 to 13, celebrated the end of the fall season with the Jingle Bell 5K race in Parsons on Dec. 3.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Beth Christian Broschart
Members of the Girls on the Run program sponsor the Jingle Bell 5K run. This year’s race had 183 participants, the largest ever, and traveled through Parsons, down the Highlands Scenic Rail Trail and looping through Nursery Bottom back to Parsons. Pictured are Addie Berdine, Kiaya Hussion and Knydal Howell.
Girls from Tucker, Barbour and Randolph counties ran the 3.1 mile course stretching from the Parsons Volunteer Fire Company, down the Highlands Scenic Rail Trail, across the newly converted railroad trestle bridge, looping around Nursery Bottom and returning to town.
The Jingle Bell 5K race official was Clarence Kibler, 93-year-old father of Mimi Kibler of La Fontaine Bakery in Parsons.
Members of the Parsons City Police with volunteer parents helped flag traffic at road intersections.
This was the third year for the event, and 183 people walked or ran the race, the largest turnout ever.
Austin Hamrick, 15, was the first to cross the finish line, followed by Chris Bonner and Nick Akins. The first place Girls on the Run participants were Lexie Morici, 9, daughter of Danny and Julie Morici of Elkins, and Morgan Key, 8, daughter of Jennifer Roy Rosier of Hendricks.
Participants were treated to "happy hair", with spray colors donated by Goody hair products.
One hundred pairs of Girls on the Run mittens were provided by Valley Supply of Elkins.
New Balance donated shoe laces and water bottles for those in the race.
La Fontaine bakery donated homemade soup, bread, treats, fruits and drinks.
The Parsons Volunteer Fire Department donated the department space as race central.
Girls on the Run has programs that meet at Davis/Thomas Elementary Middle School, Tucker Valley Elementary Middle School, Harman Elementary, Midland Elementary, Elkins Third Ward Elementary and Belington Elementary School.
The program helps girls develop essential life skills. They have the opportunity to learn about core values and what makes each girl unique. Other skills include learning to assess their strengths, set personal goals and explore the importance of being physically and emotionally healthy.
Girls are also exposed to listening, learning, assertiveness and coping skills. They learn about managing conflict and good decision making skills.
Community service projects Girls On the Run have completed include making edible Christmas ornaments, making ornaments for the Nina Tree, collecting items for the animal shelter, collecting items for Operation Christmas Child, writing thank-you cards and making puppets.
Coaches for the season include Terry Evans, Cindy Streets, Melinda Pennington, Barbie Evans, Cathy Hebb, Ruth Gordeuk, Tricia Toth, Jennifer Friend, Anita Talbott, Julie Morici, Shelley Ricottelli, Natalie Portaro, Linda Shaw, Lori DiBacco, Beth Phillips, Kelly Bibey and Marlana Pennington.
Girls on the Run is hoping to expand to other schools in Randolph and Barbour Counties.
For more information contact Terry Evans at 304-642-5787 or at the site email@example.com.