'Girls on the Run' comes to Bangor

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - A non-profit group that helps young girls gain self-confidence and helps them pursue their dreams made a stop in Bangor Sunday.

Girls on the Run celebrated their inaugural 5K with teams from all over the state.

Alyssa Thurlow caught up with some local girls who have been pounding the pavement in preparation for the big day.

"I am strong! I am confident!"

"It's such a great program” explained Brewer assistant coach, Sheri Bryant. “It builds up self-esteem and it talks about girls making good choices and feeling pressures at school, and while building up their stamina to realize that they can actually run and be strong girls."

Girl power was in full force in Bangor Sunday for the inaugural Girls on the Run 5K.

Teams from eight counties across Maine met up at Husson University for the event.

The goal of the nonprofit organization is to use running as a way to inspire and motivate young girls, all while teaching them some life skills.

"The girls have really come together as a group and grown, and it's been such a fun time,” said assistant coach, Elizabeth Connors.

This is the first year for the program at Brewer Community School. These 11 girls meet twice a week to train.

Now, they're putting what they have learned to the test by hitting the pavement.
"Do you guys think you're ready?
"Yes! We have done a 5K before."

"We did a practice 5K already and they all did great,” explained assistant coach, Becky O’Neill. “They can run or walk or hop skip and jump. We just keep telling them keep moving forward."
Their coaches hope this 5K gives them a sense of achievement.

"I just hope they feel empowered as girls and they have it within themselves to make a choices and they have it within themselves to thrive and shine,” said Bryant.

And while the program is designed for girls in third through fifth grade, the coaches say they've really learned from each other in the past year.

"I got as much out of it as the girls did, maybe more,” said ‘Neill. “Just enforcing positive self-image and self-confidence. It's fantastic!"