Girls from Eastfield Global Magnet School and Marion Elementary will be among the 600-plus girls who have been training to run the 5K over the past few months.

Hundreds of the participants will be third through eighth grade girls from 11 counties in Western North Carolina who have trained with volunteer coaches at 43 sites for 10 weeks as part of the Girls on the Run program, which combines running with lessons about important topics such as preventing bullying and processing emotions. The 5K is the culminating event of the fall season.

“We are excited for the community to join us in celebrating with 621 local girls who have been empowered this fall to boldly pursue their dreams and become the leaders of tomorrow,” said Amy Renigar, Executive Director of Girls on the Run of Western North Carolina. “Being part of a Girls on the Run 5K is an experience you will not soon forget, and we encourage the Asheville community to join the fun on Sunday.”

Girls on the Run of Western North Carolina began with 20 girls in 2002 and has now served more than 12,000 girls. In 2016, more than 1,200 girls took part in the life-changing program and learned to believe in their own limitless potential.

The 5K is family-friendly, non-competitive and open to the public. Runners and walkers of all ages and levels are encouraged to register. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Girls on the Run of Western North Carolina scholarship fund, which aims to make the non-profit's program accessible to all girls in the community, regardless of their ability to pay the registration fee.

“At Girls on the Run, it is our policy to never turn away a girl based on financial need, so your registration will help enable us to reach more girls,” said Renigar. “This spring, 89 percent of our program sites are Title 1 schools, so we provided an additional $39,000 to ensure the girls in-need have healthy snacks, athletic shoes and scholarship assistance.”

Online registration is $15 and is available through noon on Friday. Registration will also be open on race day at Asheville Outlets starting at 9 a.m. for $20. Strollers are welcome. Pet are not allowed at the event for safety reasons.

BOX: About Girls on the Run

Girls on the Run of Western North Carolina is an independent council of Girls on the Run International, which has a network of 200+ locations across the United States and Canada. Girls on the Run is a physical activity-based, positive youth development program for girls in 3rd-8th grade that teaches life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games and culminates with the girls being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5k running event. The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness.

Visit GirlsOnTheRunWNC.org to register for the 5K, get involved or learn more about how Girls on the Run helps prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living.