Weather doesn't stop Girls on the Run

Over 700 come out for annual 5K race

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  • The Wantage team

  • The Reverend Brown School team

  • Ashlyn Zagula, 8, and her running buddy and Dad Andrew Zagula

  • Two young ladies out for a run

By Rose Sgarlato

SPARTA- Consistent rainfall and fairly cold weather for May did not stop over 700 people from putting their game faces on for the annual Girls on the Run 5K held last Saturday in Lake Mohawk.

The participants included 395 girls, their coaches and running buddies. The national after school program is offered for third to eighth grade girls is designed to empower, enrich and provide an overall sense of well-being while incorporating physical activity.

“Our mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running,” said Maureen Dykstra, Girls on the Run New Jersey North (GOTRNJN). “Throughout the season, the girls make new friends, build their confidence and celebrate all that makes them unique.”

GOTRNJN serves Bergen, Passaic, Hudson and Sussex counties. Teams from all four counties come to Lake Mohawk every year where the 5K is held in conjunction with Sparta Day. And although Sparta Day was postponed until September 23 due to the weather, the Girls on the Run event went on.

In years past, the race has had picture perfect weather said Dykstra, who was still pleased with the overall turnout and community spirit:

"I am incredibly proud of our girls who were lead by our devoted team of coaches. Instead of backing away from a difficult situation, they came out with a positive attitude, met the challenge head on and walked away with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Building a girl's confidence is at the heart of what we strive for our participants to take away from their Girls on the Run experience."

The Girls on the Run 10 -week program begins again in the fall and registraion opens mid-July at <URL destination=" ">

</URL>The organization is volunteer-driven with over 150 coaches and 60 volunteers at the actual race donating time. GOTRNJN would like to thank and acknowledge the following sponsors:

Riverview Paving; Newton-Sparta Pediatric Dentistry-Dr. Latiener; Sparta Municipal Alliance; Thor Labs; Atlantic Health Newton Medical Center; Coldwell Banker-Julie Killen; Wellness Center Pediatrics; Lake Mohawk Country Club; Advocare Vernon Pediatrics; Sparwick Contracting; C&H Agency; Smith-Sondy Asphalt; Jordano Electric; Duphiny Financial; Dykstra Associates; Laura Delea; The Grace Financial Group Marion Cuff; Frank A. Macchione Construction; Biondo Investment Group; Wells Fargo; Super Self-Storage; D&L Paving; Valley Emergency Room Doctors; Traffic Safety and Equipment; ALFA Development; Eastern Propane; Constellation Energy and Sparta Elks.

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