Brookings Girls on the Run host “5K Run for Fun!”

Staff reports
Posted 5/23/23

BROOKINGS — Brookings third grade Girls on the Run (GOTR) teams at Medary and Dakota Prairie Elementary closed their spring season with a “5K Run for Fun!” at the Brookings High School track on May 16.

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Brookings Girls on the Run host “5K Run for Fun!”


BROOKINGS — Brookings third-grade Girls on the Run teams at Medary and Dakota Prairie Elementary closed their spring season with a “5K Run for Fun!” at the Brookings High School track on May 16.

More than 150 attendees — including runners, spectators, and volunteers — were present. The GOTR season typically culminates with a regional 5K in Sioux Falls which was canceled due to rain. Volunteer coaches from both teams worked together to organize a 5K in Brookings.

“One of the first lessons we teach our teams is about finding your inner Star Power,” said coach Suzy Gehring, who is a reading interventionalist at Medary Elementary. “We literally had a storm cloud cover our original race day so we activated our Star Power to host this 5K event.”

Allison Sinning, director of youth programming and GOTR council director, amplified the event by traveling from Sioux Falls to bring race bibs, medals, shirts, signs and snacks, as well as set up the official GOTR finish line. GOTR is one of EmBe, a nonproftit organization that wants to empower women and families to enrich lives, signature programs.

“The end of the season 5K is an opportunity for young girls to realize that they can set a goal and achieve it through perseverance and determination,” Sinning said. “We want the girls to look back on their 5K achievement and remember applying that same confidence to other challenges.”

Throughout the evening, the field buzzed with activity. Pre-race stretches were led by b.well instructors. B.well is a fitness studio in Brookings. The national anthem was performed by Marli Sayler. The Brookings High School softball team pinned race number bibs. Runners lined up along the starting line and began the race with the blast of an air horn and shot of confetti.

“We train all season for the final 5K race,” said coach Kristina Lankow, who is a marketing strategist at Daktronics. “The energy of the runners was electric. For young athletes, it was such a positive experience and will hopefully inspire a life-long love of physical activity, especially running.”

Girls ran alongside teammates as well as friends and family. Spectators waved signs and shook noise makers. Runners tracked their progress by moving colorful bracelets from one arm to the other after each lap. Every runner crossed through the inflatable finish line and each GOTR girl received a finisher medal.

“Our cheer at the end of every practice is ‘Girls on the Run is so much fun!’” said Coach Emily Charlson, who is an art educator at Dakota Prairie Elementary. “Seeing runners cross the finish line and celebrate their accomplishment with friends and families was incredibly meaningful. This event truly was so much fun!”

Post-race beverages were provided by the Brookings Marathon committee.

Brookings volunteer coaches for the 2023 GOTR spring season include:

Emily Charlson, Mallory Freeseman, and Sonya Chatham (Dakota Prairie Elementary); Allison Berndt, Danielle Peterson, Hannah Fraser, Megan Dentlinger, and Suzy Gehring (Medary Elementary); Alysha Hamann (Mickelson Middle School); Abby Flanery, Becky Schmeling, and Jenna Palmer (First Bank & Trust); Kristina Lankow (Daktronics); Julie Engebretson (Plains Commerce Bank); Abbi Denison and Kyrsten Zimmerman (ADVANCE).

Girls on the Run is an afterschool program for 3rd through 5th grade girls that focuses on teaching social, emotional and physical skills through fun and interactive running games. The program’s 10-week season is held twice a year in the spring (March-May) and the fall (September-November).

About Girls on the Run of South Dakota

Girls on the Run of South Dakota is an Affiliate Council of Girls on the Run International, which has a network of over 200 councils across the United States and Canada. Girls on the Run is a transformational physical activity-based, positive youth development program for girls in 3rd-5th grades. Trained volunteer coaches inspire girls to build confidence and other important life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and physical activity which creatively integrates running. For more information, visit

About EmBe

EmBe is a nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization on a mission to empower women and families to enrich lives. As the oldest and largest women’s organization in Sioux Falls, SD, EmBe has anticipated and served the needs of women and families since 1921. Now in its second century of supporting success at work, at home, and in life, EmBe programs serve over 12,500 individuals each year. Learn more at