Girls on the Run hosting Wondergirl 5K |

Girls on the Run hosting Wondergirl 5K

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunKatherine Englert, Tenaya Standteiner, Maddison Paul, Hailee Reichwald and McKennzie Mori run while holding hands during a Girls on the Run practice at Truckee Elementary School this past week. The girls will participate in the Wondergirl 5K on Sunday.

Hundreds of local girls and community members will don lavender shirts as they run side by side in the Wondergirl 5K at Riverview Sports Park on Sunday.

The event is a fundraiser for Girls on the Run Sierras, a local non-profit promoting healthy lifestyles and community involvement for girls ages 8 though 12.

“It’s going to be really inspiring,” said Gia Mandy, who coaches at Truckee Elementary School.

The Wondergirl 5K is not competitive and will include more than 60 girls who will run the entire 3.1 miles with their “sole mate,” or mentor in the community.

“It’s not going to be timed,” Mandy said. “It’s all about the process. We don’t care if they run, skip-jump or jump backward to get to the finish line. It’s not about comparing yourself with others but to work within yourself and within your means.”

This philosophy has been the backbone of the program started by Jen Bossin of Truckee the 2007-’08 school year.

Mandy said she likes being a coach for Girls on the Run because it promotes healthy lifestyles.

“It shows them they have choices as they become young women,” Mandy said. “It teaches them to be active members of their community.”

The coach said she’s seen many positive changes in the girls since they became members of Girls on The Run.

“They are far more supportive of each other,” Mandy said. “They are a very sensitive, aware group of young women.”

But when asked about the program, the girls don’t hesitate to say that Girls on The Run is also about having a good time.

“We always make running fun,” said 9-year-old Marisol Rocha after a practice at Truckee Elementary School this past week. “We don’t just do laps, because that would be boring. The coaches are really friendly and they support you.”

Maya Willis, 9, said she enjoys the camaraderie among team members and coaches.

“I like that we are all together and we cheer each other on,” Willis said. “We are basically like a big family.”

Come Sunday, some 250 runners and walkers from the community are expected to participate with the girls. Bossin said she will be one of them.

“Most of the coaches like to get out there with the girls and see their cute little faces as they run,” Bossin said. “We have a really good turnout from people in the community; we feel very supported.”

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