SEATTLE -- Getting warmed up and limber kicked off a one-of-a-kind after-school activity for third through fifth grade girls at Sacajawea elementary.
"We are doing the 5k. the practice 5K," said one participant.
5K. That's 3.1 miles. Most of the girls have never run that distance before. But, 10-weeks of training offered by Girls On The Run prepared Caterina Bartot and her friends for this day.
"It's empowering girls all over the world and making them stronger in who they are," said nine year old Bartot.
The non-profit program teaches valuable life-lessons through physical activity.
"It's about empowerment, teamwork and feeling good about themselves," said Becky Antilla Walliman, Development Manager for Girls On The Run Puget Sound.
The goal is to complete six laps around the neighborhood, but they won't do it alone. Every girl is paired up with a running buddy, volunteers they just met today.
Bartot got to know her running buddy and said, "She works at Lifewise and she's been working there for 12 years."
Bartot's partner is Shidan Green, a Lifewise ambassador. Her employer is a long time sponsor of Girls On the Run.
Tracy Bos, a Director at Lifewise, said, "From a Lifewise perspective we are about making healthy choices, and for these girls this is an easy way to be successful in making healthy choices that we think will serve them for a lifetime."
As the girls ran around the neighborhood, cheers and incentives greeted them at every turn. Each time they ran a lap they got a colorful hair tie. The reward kept them going along with plenty of other reasons.
One runner said, "Here's the reason, the running! I mean it is so amazing , It's the perfect place for girls who really want to run and get energetic, Girls on the Run is the perfect place to do it."
And, they did it together, with a running buddy by their side.
"It just makes me happy and full of joy, and I can get my energy out," said Bartot after completing the 5K practice run.
The practice prepared the girls for the GOTR (Girls on The Run) spring 5k on Saturday, May 16th. More than 7-hundred girls from all over King County will be running. For more information on Girls On the Run, click here.
For more information on Lifewise, click here.