Hannibal school girls rock a 5k

A runner finish the Pirate Pride Challenge

It's tough work for anyone to run a 5k, but local elementary school girls made it look easy Saturday.

So what's their training secret?

"Running and Zumba," said Shawna Charlton, a student at Eugene Field Elementary.

Charlton finished first out of her club for the Pirate Pride Challenge, a 5k run she's been training for since February.

"It keeps them physically fit," Dolly Lewis, a counselor at Eugene Field Elementary and sponsor of its Girls on the Move club said. "It's a good thing to start early with kids ... to carry on through out their lives."

Dolly Lewis is a sponsor of the Girls on the Move Club at Eugene Filed Elementary. She's been training Charlton and 29 other girls from the club twice a week for the race.

"So today for these girls it's a big accomplishment for them," Lewis said.

"The purpose of the program is to just encourage wellness in our school district both with our employees and our children," Jill Janes, the Superintendent for Hannibal Public schools and the Wellness Program director said.

But learning to live healthy isn't the only benefit from this club.

"It also builds their self confidence and their self esteem," Lewis said. "It's just really important for our girls to be part of something, especially something athletic like this."

According to KidsHealth.Org girls that play sports are more likely to do better in school, learn teamwork, have health benefits, and build self confidence. But for Charlton she just like running for one reason.

"Because it gives me more muscles," Charlton said.

The Girls on the Move Club is part of a Wellness Program held at all five of Hannibal's Public Elementary Schools for third through fifth grade girls.