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Girls on the Run

Iris Dayoub and the girls. Iris Dayoub and the girls.

How can you help your kids shape up? One woman is off to a running start, with young girls. It's an effort to get third, fourth and fifth graders in high gear, and ready to run a 5K.

Iris Dayoub says that girls live in a box, a narrowly defined box of expectations and attitudes. "The media has an image of what little girls and big girls ought to look like, and act like and it's not always the healthiest thing."

Running is the answer to the stereotyping, Iris thinks, because it's a fast track to the independent thinking that helps girls stay true to themselves.

To develop her idea she created Girls on the Run, a biweekly gathering of elementary schoolers to get some exercise and talk about things that come up for third, fourth and fifth graders.

"We talked about long term and short term consequences--pros and cons--so they've learned a lot of things today in addition to doing the running," she said.

Sabrina Downing, Emma Gibney and Ella Brock are on the Girls on the Run Team. In spite of the huffing and puffin, they say they're enjoying themselves.

There are about 30 young ladies in the Girls on the Run program, but that's just a beginning. Iris Dayoub hopes that in time, every third, fourth and fifth grade girl will be a girl on the run.

The first big test is the Islands YMCA 5K a month from now. For more information, email

Reported by: Craig Harney,

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