Girls on the Run kicks off its 10th season


Submitted Photo | The Daily Eastern News Jefferson Elementary School Girls on the Run members deliver blankets they made to Hilltop Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Lynnsey Veach, City Editior

The Mattoon Young Men’s Christian Association will be hosting its tenth season of Girls on the Run East Central Illinois beginning the week of February 1.

Girls on the Run will be held in Coles, Moultrie, Shelby, Effingham, Piatt, and Douglas counties. The program invites girls from 3rd to 8th grade to register and participate.

During the course of this ten-week program, the girls train to run a 5k event scheduled for April 9 on Eastern’s campus.

Beth Gillespie, the council director of Girls on the Run East Central Illinois, said during the season the volunteer coaches teach young girls lessons that will help them maintain healthy bodies and minds.

“Over the course of a 10-week Girls on the Run season, volunteer coaches teach life skills such as responding to bullies, dealing with body image and the media, making healthy decisions, and contributing to the community,” Gillespie said.

Gillespie also said the program is in need of additional coaches, and encourages Eastern students to volunteer their time to mentor these young girls.

Vicky Prokop, a former Girls on the Run coach, said the season she spent with the girls was a great experience that actually motived her to keep running and reaching for her own goals.

“I highly recommend other college students volunteer for this program,” Prokop said. “As an EIU alum, I can say that Girls on the Run is one of my favorite college memories.”

Tiffany Triplett, who will be coaching her fourth season of Girls on the Run at Jefferson Elementary School, has been a part of Girls on the Run East Central Illinois for over six seasons through her daughter, who has participated each season.

“I think the college coaches begin to see themselves as a role model that the girls feel comfortable talking to and leaning on,” Triplett said. “The girls bond with the coaches and truly look up to them and respect and love them.”

Triplett said she encourages girls to participate in Girls on the Run because it teaches them how to see their potential and be the best they could ever imagine.

“[Girls on the Run] teaches them that the sky is the limit, and to never limit themselves simply because of their gender, size, age, color, or background,” Triplett said. “So when I tell people/parents/girls about the program, I tell them that the things that they will learn will be things that are able to do in every walk and aspect of their lives.”

Girls on the Run East Central Illinois still needs young girls who plan on participating to register for the new season. Registration began on January 5, so parents now have the chance to sign their daughters up to participate in the 2016 spring season.

Anyone interested in learning more about the program or registering can visit the event website or call Sarah Dowell at the Mattoon Area Family YMCA.


Lynnsey Veach can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]