Nora Fortier, 10, got off to a galloping start in the 5K run in her purple-and-white fleece pajamas adorned with a derby’s worth of horses. But while she was feeling like a star at the end — 27 of them, actually, all stuck on her race bib to mark the laps completed on an indoor track — she was also rather chill to the idea of sleepwear as athletic attire.
“I don’t really have any other pajamas,” she said after completing the 5K Pajama Jog at the Dimond Park Field House on Sunday afternoon. “I wish I did because these are really hot. But since I’m done and it’s snowing outside right now maybe I can go, like, faceplant in the snow or something.”
Dozens participating in the Juneau Girls on the Run program turned out for the 5K event intended as a celebration of accomplishments during the program’s 10-week season, said Breanna Stewart, violence prevention youth and education coordinator for AWARE, the primary coordinator of the event and founder of Girls on the Run of Greater Alaska, which was started as a local organization in 2008 before expanding statewide.
“We just tried to make the 5K a little more fun with the pajama idea,” she said.
There are local 5K runs follow seasons in the spring and fall, which offer what Stewart said are empowerment activities for girls in grades 3-5 and 6-8, with girls ages 16-18 serving as junior coaches.
Nothing about the 5K was competitive, with all participants getting #1 bib jerseys, and pre-run activities consisting of face-painting, a “happy hair” table and a photo booth. Just before the fun run the girls did go through a stretching and warm-up series that included jumping jacks, lunges, “butt-kicks” and other limbering movements.
Once the run started, the only real rule was participants were supposed to get a star sticker on their 5K bib after each lap to keep track of how many they ran — the first time the event has tracked runners that way — from parents and others grouped near the start/finish line with sticker sheets.
While many of the participants were in full or partial pajama outfits, there were also many dressed in more practical t-shirts, shorts and similar clothing that might be expected at a 5K.
“I didn’t want to wear PJs because I was going to be overheated,” said Casey Blackwell, 10, noting it was her second 5K. She had enough energy left at the finish she ended up running an extra lap.
The event was her second Juneau Girls on the Run 5K, following one on Sandy Beach in Douglas. She said before Sunday’s event “I tried to run in my neighborhood every day.”
Of the two 5Ks Blackwell has completed, she said she much prefers the indoor track.
“My shoes are still sandy” from the Douglas run that occurred well over a year ago, she said.