The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Beka Compton
the Times 

New running club is more than just miles

A running club that goes farther than the track, Girls on the Run has a lasting, positive impact on elementary-aged girls, and it is coming to Waitsburg.


January 30, 2020

WAITSBURG-Susan Wildey attended her first Girls on the Run event last year with her niece, and that was all the inspiration she needed. Wildey, who is the Food Services Supervisor at Waitsburg Elementary, has teamed up with school board member Christy House and school counselor Rosy Nechodom to help young girls in Waitsburg recognize their potential while getting a bit of exercise by offering Girls on the Run at the school.

"The program creates an environment for girls to really set goals, achieve their goals, learn about self-love and how to communicate with each other," said Wildey. Girls on the Run is a running club with a twist; the nonprofit empowerment organization focuses on teaching girls from 3rd-5th grades how to manage emotions, handle conflict, and love themselves as they are, all while training for a 5K race. 

In 2017, an independent study conducted by University of Minnesota professor, Maureen R. Weiss, PhD, found that 97 percent of girls who participated in Girls on the Run learned critical life skills that they used at home, in school, and around their friends. The participants also increased their postseason physical activity by 40 percent. The study highlighted that both the social-emotional learning and exercise components of the curriculum provides the lasting impact on the participants.

The 10-week season starts March 3rd, and will wrap up with a 5k run and group celebration in Richland on May 16. The Girls on the Run sessions will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 2:45 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. at Waitsburg Elementary. The 90-minute practices will kick-off with goal-setting and social emotional exercises, and then finish out with the girls training for the 5k.

The cost of the program is $25 per girl, but Wildey wanted to be clear that no girl would be turned away due to financial hardships. The Waitsburg Lions Club has generously sponsored a portion of the program, and Wildey has reached out to Girls on the Run for financial assistance and scholarships. 

Wildey is looking forward to working alongside House and Nechodom and encourages others to join them. Volunteers interested in coaching must attend a national training in Richland, but Wildey is happy to help get volunteers going in the right direction. If you are interested in helping out, but are unable to coach, Wildey said they will always accept donations of safe running shoes. 

Information packets will be sent home from school in the beginning of February, so keep an eye out if you have a 3rd-5th grade girl at Waitsburg Elementary. More information on the program and its curriculum can be found at


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