Girls on the Run participant Anjali Padhi soars around the track during a 5-kilometer run in the Wells Fargo Dimond Park Field House in December. (Courtesy Photo | Natalie Watson)

Girls on the Run participant Anjali Padhi soars around the track during a 5-kilometer run in the Wells Fargo Dimond Park Field House in December. (Courtesy Photo | Natalie Watson)

Running coaches needed for after-school programs

Free trainings offered at AWARE next month

Volunteers are needed to help guide two after-school spring running programs.

Girls on the Run and Boys Run I Toowu Klatseen encourages third, fourth and fifth graders to lead healthy lives. Volunteer coaches work in teams to lead runs and give short lessons over a 12-week period beginning Tuesday, Feb. 19.

[Girls on the Run ends season in style]

Girls on the Run Alaska spokesperson Natalie Watson said girls learn about body image and self-confidence, while boys hear about respecting tribal values. I Toowu Klatseen in Tlingit translates to “strengthen your spirit.”

Watson said about 75 boys and girls participated last season. Girls of the Run was offered in five different schools and Boys Run was held in two.

“Both programs are focused on building these healthy life skills and providing the kids with what we call protective factors that protect them from perpetrating or experiencing violence in their lifetime,” Watson said.

Watson said the biggest limiting factor for the growth of the programs is the low number of coaches. Coaches must commit to at least one 75-90 minute practice per week.

“You don’t have to be a runner; you just have to believe in the mission of the program,” Watson said. “A lot of it is telling girls to run around and come back to you. It’s great to run with them, but it’s not required.”

Girls on the Run coach training will be held at the AWARE shelter from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2. Boys Run I Toowu Klatseen coach training will be conducted at the AWARE shelter from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9.

Interested community members can learn more and sign up at or

Girls on the Run is provided by Aiding Women in Abuse and Rape Emergencies (AWARE); Boys Run I Toowu Klatseen is jointly offered by AWARE and Central Council of Tlingit Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA).

• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.

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