COLUMBIA — More than 1,200 runners participated in Go Girl Run Saturday morning.
The new Columbia half-marathon and 5K run/walk was designed to celebrate women, their health and their accomplishments.
"This event is quite an accomplishment," said Rebecca Calvin, Columbia resident and runner. "Projects like this are an ongoing celebration of women's health."
The 1,204 participants came out to Reactor Field to support their friends and family, carry out personal fitness goals and enjoy the day.
Pam Crawford entered the race to support her mom, Dorrie Crawford, who has been preparing for the half-marathon for months. Dorrie's husband, Tom Crawford, also participated in the race. He has been her running partner for the past three months to help her get ready for the race.
"We help keep each other motivated," he said.
Like the Crawfords, the majority of today's participants ran or walked with friends and family, said Stacey Kulik, one of the organizers of the race.
Joselyn Walsh, a 17-year-old track runner from Canton, hoped to break her personal record today by running the 5K * in under 20 minutes.
"I've always been a runner, and working hard and always trying to improve my running has given me a positive body image," Walsh said.
Her mother, Christine Isham-Walsh, was at the race to watch her daughter.
"I try to encourage her a lot by example, like not getting upset when I add a couple pounds," Isham-Walsh said.
The event provided an opportunity to reinforce healthy body images for both mothers and daughters participating.
Body image issues are common among teenage girls, many of whom believe they are overweight, according to an article from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health. This can harm the development of young women socially, physically and emotionally.
Doing the following can reinforce a positive body image, according to the article:
- Making sure the child understands that weight gain is a normal part of development;
- Avoiding negative statements about body size and food;
- Complimenting the child;
- Watching television with the child and discussing the body images shown;
- Keeping open communication with the child.
"My daughter and I talk about how it's important to be healthy and active, but it doesn't matter your size," runner Amy Ewing said.
Marie Skinner ran today with friends from Arizona, Utah and Texas. For her, reaffirming her children's talents is the key to ensuring a positive attitude for her children.
"We always try to compliment our kids and focus on their talents," Skinner said. "Whether it's dance or gymnastics, we try to keep our kids involved in healthy activities they actually enjoy doing."
Tawnyia Jerome, a family practitioner and runner, said that staying in shape is extremely important for longevity and keeping a healthy physique. Getting everyone together for an event like this is the perfect way to keep the community healthy, she said.
"I'm really glad they are doing this," Jerome said. "It's great for the community."
Supervising editor is Ted Hart.