“We’re starting at ages 8 to 11,” says Stone-Lankes, who has teamed up with Telluride schools’ Athletic Director Mike Hughes to organize ten weeks of practice tentatively planned for Tuesday-Thursday, 3-5 p.m., leading up to a 5K race on November 6, in Grand Junction.
Stone-Lankes did a trial run last month, bringing eight girls to a Montrose race benefiting the homeless shelter.
“They did great!” she says of the Telluride group.
“It’s just another example for all of us that anything is possible,” says the irrepressibly upbeat Stone-Lankes, owner/operator of the alt8750 gym on Telluride’s main street. She first heard about the program – described on its website as “a life-changing, experiential learning programs for girls age 8 to 13 years old” geared to fostering positive “emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development” in girls – from Grand Junction Girls on the Run organizer Melanie Steele, whose program has gone on to spawn programs in Chaffee, Delta, Garfield, Gunnison, Mesa, Montrose and Routt counties, in Colorado, as well as programs in San Juan and Grand counties, in Utah.
Stone-Lankes says a San Miguel County chapter of the national program that takes as its mission “to educate and prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living” is an important next step in the empowerment (and fitness) of young women.
To that end, its main objective is, according to the organization’s website, “to educate and empower girls at an early age in order to prevent the display of at-risk activities in the future. At risk activities include substance/alcohol use, eating disorders, early onset of sexual activity, sedentary lifestyle, depression, suicide attempts and confrontations with the juvenile justice system.
Stone-Lankes is looking for more coaches, countywide. “I really hope Norwood” and other schools throughout the county “will get involved,” she says. “We need to have girls throughout the county working toward the goal.”
Registration is $50, she says, and scholarships are available.