Parsippany’s Girls on the Run and Heart & Sole Complete a 5K


PARSIPPANY — The Parsippany Girls On The Run and Heart & Sole teams sprinted to the spring season’s finish line during the annual Florham Park Jaycees 5K on Saturday, June 10.

Girls on The Run is a youth development program for third through eighth grade that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates with running. The program for girls in grades third to fifth is called “Girls on the Run,” while the parallel program for girls in grades sixth through eighth is called “Heart & Sole.” Both groups met twice weekly at Parsippany’s Veterans Park. This final 3.1 mile race represents the culmination of both teams’ hard work and determination. They have participated in confidence-boosting games and activities, while maintaining a continual focus on self improvement by challenging themselves to better individual running skills each week.

The Jaycees run began with the teams organizing in front of Holy Family Church, alongside other teams from the New Jersey East council of Girls on the Run. The large open field was lit up with pink signs, and brightened further with a fun, complimentary hair color station and a feminine take on war paint.

Occupying the Parsippany spot on the field, the girls were greeted by their dedicated volunteer coaches, Head Coach Angela Vitellaro, Assistant Coach Alexa Longush, Assistant Coach Kathleen Attenasio, and Junior Coach Sera Ferrante. Heart & Sole coaches Katie Rusnock and Gillian Eigo attended to the older girls. Handmade flower crown veils blew in wind as the coaches headed to the starting line alongside their teams and running buddies. Some of the girls ran with their coaches, while others were joined by family or friends.

All of the The Parsippany Girls On The Run and Heart & Sole runners succeeded and finished the race!

Girls on the Run participants and their chip times were as follows: Hope Brecher (1:00), Tessa Downes (:55), Catherine Estilo (:45), Lara Habib (:50), Anum Haqqani (:46), Madeline Harmon (:39), Barbara Karkanias (:44), Carina Maroldi (:38), Jordan Maxwell (:48), Amelia McIntosh (:53), Shamili Nimmala (:47), Emily Regalado (:52), Ashley Thompson (:48), Elaina Voto (:38). Jazmin O’Donnell was with the group in spirit.

Heart & Sole runners included: Maya Celli (:48), Elizabeth Foldy (:50), Christina Habib (:54), Thanvi Nimmala (:47) and Kendall Pachiolo (:45). Team members Arshi Patel and Rachel Lebowitz did not run; however, Rachel was onsite cheering for her friends.

Girls On The Run and Heart & Sole are not your typical running clubs, as they focus on self-empowerment, and working toward personal, rather than competitive goals: Each girl’s stride across the finish line represented a personal victory for this group of small, but mentally and physically mighty young women. The girls’ season is not quite complete, as they now prepare for their next hurdle – tackling a community service project as a team.

Girls on the Run and Heart & Sole are always interested in new members. Fall registration will begin on August 1 at 9:00 a.m. Click here to learn more.

Girls on the Run, a nonprofit physical activity-based youth development program for girls in 3rd through 8th grade, serves more than 200,000 girls annually in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Heart & Sole is Girls on the Run’s new program for middle school girls! Heart & Sole creates a positive, structured space for middle school girls to learn about themselves, explore new ideas, cultivate empathy, strengthen connections and develop life skills that will help them as they move through adolescence and beyond. More info is available by clicking here.