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Girls on the Run & Heart & Sole Begins

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Enrollment is open for girls at George Long Elementary and Grass Lake Middle schools for “Girls on the Run!” 2017 and “Heart & Sole,” respectively, programs designed to instill in girls healthy eating habits and exercise programs.   

“Girls on the Run!”  is open to all third through fifth grade girls.  They are scheduled to meet to train after school on Monday and Wednesday from 3:15-4:45 p.m. from March 13 through May 26.    

Team members of “Heart and Sole” will meet on Monday and Thursday from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. from March 13 through May 26 and also are training for a run.

The goal of the programs is to empower young girls, teach them teamwork, and achieve their fitness goals, said Mary Magos, who teaches science at Grass Lake Middle School. Magos serves as head coach with assistance from Denise Lotz and Angela Berent, and other teachers.

Registered participants receive healthy snacks at each training session, a t-shirt, a water bottle, a parent guide book, and entry into the “Girls on the Run!” 5k on Sunday, May 21.  Registration for the new program “Heart and Sole” for Middle School girls in grades sixth through eighth grade. Now in its second year, Heart and Sole exists to dissuade students from temptation to drugs and peer pressure.

Last May 15 girls turned out for the runs, Magos said.  Training takes place in the school cafeteria or the gymnasium in darker months.

Magos, herself a runner, has coached the Girls on the Run team for five years.  “I run 5k races and triathlons,” she said.  As race dates draw near Magos said she has seen great progress in the girls this year.  “I’ve seen the level of confidence rise in them,” she said.  “They walk with strength and purpose and they feel like their ideas matter.”

Magos acknowledged that not all participants will run the entire lengths of the races but that’s not the point. “The philosophy of both programs is that as long as the girls are moving forward they can chose what that looks like—walk, run, or skip, giving the girls the power to choose how they move helps tremendously,” Magos said.

Magos has an advantage as a coach not just because she runs triathlons but also because as a science teacher she understand kinetics and nutrition.  “As a science teacher and a coach for many years, I help encourage the girls to build exercise into their lives as a way to help stay in shape and act as a stress reducer.  I also want the girls to have fun while they get active and enjoy being part of a team.”

Teamwork is the optimal means to help runners train and meet their personal goals, said Doug Moeckel Director of Transportation, Community and Cooperative Services

Grass Lake Community Schools.

“We are very fortunate to have teachers, parents and community members involved with the Grass Lake School District who enjoy going “over and above” their everyday responsibilities to provide excellent opportunities for our students outside of the classroom, with programs such as ‘Girls on the Run” and “Heart and Sole’.  From the perspective of the Grass Lake Community Wellness Initiative, we are very interested in involving community members of all ages in healthy activities. These programs not only provide lessons that encourage the physical aspects of healthy living for these students, but also life lessons in social skills. It is a win-win scenario for all of us.”

Adult marathoners traditionally ‘carb up’ the night before the big run, gorging on pasta.  The Grass Lake runners preparing for the races will eat a normal dinner the night before the races and are encouraged to eat a good breakfast prior to the runs.  Stretching before running or walking the laps happen at each practice to ensure that the that girls don’t pull muscles.  Hydrating with water also is optimal.

For more information on enrollment and the races contact Magos at Grass Lake Middle School  at 517-867-5590 or

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