SVHC Sponsors Girls On The Run Vermont 5k Event

BENNINGTON — Obesity is on the rise in America, and fewer children are getting the recommended amount of exercise each day. Although one program alone can’t stem this tide, Girls on the Run Vermont aims to show girls that physical activity and making healthy choices can be fun. The Girls on the Run program combines school-based exercise and training with a 5k run/walk that focuses on girls from the third through eighth grades. Girls from thirteen Bennington area schools will join with hundreds of other girls for the May 22 event at Brattleboro Memorial High School.

“It’s appropriate that Southwestern Vermont Medical Center sponsor Girls on the Run,” explained Carol Conroy, RN, the hospital’s chief nursing officer. “The event fits with our vision of making our communities healthier. It’s also important to me that I and other professional women take part in providing guidance for girls about healthy living, and exercise.”

Nearly a dozen women from the health system will be on hand for the event. The SVHC team includes professional women from the SVMC Deerfield Valley Campus, the health system’s medical staff, various hospital departments, and the outpatient rehab department. The hospital also will have a booth for girls to visit at the event, where they can get a free pair of neon, reflective shoelaces.

For several months, SVMC physical therapist, Kristen Palmer has been visiting Girls on the Run teams in the Bennington area to help them prepare for the event. Palmer has been working on appropriate warm-ups to help prevent injury as well as providing general fitness advice.

“This is a great program for elementary age girls who want to be involved and be challenged no matter what their fitness level,” Palmer explained. “It’s exciting to see all these girls eager to complete a 5k run/walk. It is a big accomplishment for each participant.”

The Girls on the Run curriculum combines lessons in good food choices, the importance of regular exercise, and positive self-image development with a community service component. Girls meet twice weekly with volunteer coaches to discuss issues and take part in fun running activities. The workouts provide girls with the opportunity to challenge themselves in an encouraging environment that advocates both physical and emotional fitness.

The girls’ families and friends, as well as the community at large, are all invited to take part in the event. All proceeds from the event benefit Girls on the Run Vermont, allowing the organization to provide scholarships to girls statewide who might not otherwise be able to participate.

To find out more about the event, or to register on line, visit Registration deadline is midnight, May 20, at . To receive an event flyer, call (802) 246-1476. The first 100 registered (who are not already Girls on the Run participants) will receive a free GOTR T-shirt. Registration is free for GOTR participants, $10 for children ages 17 and under, $20 for adults, and $40 for households registering three or more members. Checks should be made payable to Girls on the Run Vermont and mailed to Girls on the Run 5K Run/Walk, 311 Laurel Ledges, Vernon, VT 05354. Race day registration and packet pick-up will take place from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. May 22 at Brattleboro Union High School. The 5K will begin at 10 a.m.

Volunteers are still needed to help with the 5K. Groups (high school sports teams, scouts, and others) are welcome to take part, at water stops, at the start and finish lines, and along the course. For more information about the 5K—including volunteering—or Girls on the Run, call (802) 246.1476 or write to

Southwestern Vermont Health Care is a community-based, not-for-profit health system that includes Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, a 99-bed community hospital; the Centers for Living & Rehabilitation; VNA & Hospice of SVHC; and medical practices in Bennington, Manchester, and Wilmington, Vt. SVHC exists solely for the benefit of its community. SVHC has a vision to make the communities it serves the healthiest in the nation.