Girls on the Run – Sierras inspires girls and coaches alike |

Girls on the Run – Sierras inspires girls and coaches alike

Special to the Sun
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TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Girls on the Run and#8211; Sierras wrapped up its eighth season in the Tahoe-Truckee area with more than 80 third to eighth grade girls turning out for the New Balance 5K | 10K Fun Run. While many of the girls had never run before this season, all of the girls basked in the accomplishment of completing a 5K run alongside their peers, coaches, running buddies and a community full of support.

Serita Cox, a Girls on the Run and#8211; Sierras coach for middle school girls at the Truckee Community Recreation Center, asked her girls what they liked most about being a part of Girls on the Run. Responses ranged from and#8220;friendshipand#8221; and and#8220;important lessonsand#8221; to and#8220;running.and#8221; Another response that resonated well with Serita and fellow Rec Center coach Kathy Hess: and#8220;Our coaches.and#8221;

More than 30 Truckee, Tahoe City, Kings Beach, Incline Village, Nev. and South Lake Tahoe community members volunteer for 20 sessions in a 10-week curriculum each season to coach the girls, and teach lessons that inspire joy, healthy living and confidence. The curriculum focuses on self, friends, family and the community. Lessons are experiential-based and fun and#8212; and creatively integrate running.

and#8220;It’s inspiring to see how a program like Girls on the Run and#8211; Sierras can impact a life,and#8221; said Cox. and#8220;Most of the girls are not connected to typical after-school programs, like sports or art or music. Only one of our girls was a runner, and most did not consider working out or running a girl thing to do. It was amazing to witness how our program gave these girls a place to go, a group to belong to and a goal to achieve.and#8221;

In addition to learning their own lessons of confidence and unlimited potential, the girls also learn to give back and help others. A key component of the program is the community service project. Each location chooses a community project that resonates with the girls, from turning crates into beautifully decorated transporters for rescue cats to inspiring running in the broader community.

The middle school girls decided to put together a fitness timeline for track runners at the Truckee Recreation Center to monitor their progress with a and#8220;Run Around Lake Tahoeand#8221; theme. The coaches and the girls crafted a graph, and hanging the piece at the track was their final good-bye of the season.

and#8220;It always feels good to give back to the community, reminding us of the importance of looking outside of ourselves,and#8221; said Hess.

Season nine is right around the corner and Cox, Hess and the dozens of other coaches, Sole Mates and volunteers are ready to inspire and be inspired by the next team of Girls on the Run and#8211; Sierras girls.

Girls on the Run wouldn’t exist without the support and sponsorship of the community. If you would like to learn more about Girls on the Run and#8211; Sierras, volunteer as a coach, running buddy or committee volunteer, or to make a donation to support scholarships for area girls, please visit You can also follow GOTRS on Facebook at

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