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Thousands turn out for ‘Girls on the Run’ event

Runners took over Virginia Wesleyan University’s campus Sunday morning and all the runners were little girls from schools across Hampton Roads.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Scores of girls from several Hampton Roads schools took part in a 5k race Sunday morning.

It’s called Girls on the Run.

But it's more than just a morning run. This event is part of a much larger program designed to promote confidence.

“Girls have been working every week - 90 minutes twice a week on lessons that teach them self esteem, they teach them how to encourage others, how to stand up and speak up for others, how to set goals,” Ellen Carver said.

Carver is the executive director of Girls on the Run. She said it’s a 12-week after-school program that teaches girls healthy habits and how to navigate tough situations in their everyday lives at home or at school.

According to their website, "Girls on the Run has fun, evidence-based programs that inspire all girls to build their confidence, kindness and decision making skills. Dynamic lessons instill valuable life skills including the important connection between physical and emotional health."

By the end of the program, girls also build enough stamina to run a few miles. So the program ends with a big party and 5k race.

Carver said it’s about empowering girls to be their best selves.

“This is a program about joy and resilience,” Carver said. “We don’t have a pity party for kids, we empower kids to look at the bright side, to find something to celebrate, to live a healthy lifestyle, adopt healthy habits, and be their best selves - even in tough times.”

Carver said this is her program’s biggest season ever - with more than 2,400 people registered for Sunday morning’s race.

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