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Kim Quimby, Founder of Girls on the Run

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When Cornwall resident Kim Quimby heard her seven-year-old daughter and her friends complaining that they were not pretty, the mother of two decided to take action. In 2012, she formed a Hudson Valley chapter of Girls On The Run with Michelle Rider, another concerned parent. Girls On The Run is a national organization that trains young females to run a 5K race — and imparts important life lessons at the same time. Under their leadership (Quimby is executive director, Rider is board president), the group has grown from 20 members to more than 300 in less than two years.

kim quimby and familyFamily on the move: Girls On The Run Hudson Valley Executive Director Kim Quimby with her husband Drew and daughters Keira (left) and Kaitlyn

The chapter currently has 23 teams in Orange and Ulster counties. Most teams — which are open to girls aged eight through 13 — meet twice a week for an hour and a half. The coaches not only hold physical workouts, but also play games and host Q&A sessions that address topics like bullying, peer pressure, and gossiping. Quimby, who takes time off from her consulting job to coach a Cornwall team, says these talks often eat up the full practice time. “The girls are desperate for guidance,” she says. “They want to understand how to handle these situations.” The program also encourages members to engage in community service. Quimby relates that her teams “love puppies, so they’ve done food drives for the SPCA, and made holiday cards for the troops.”

The first 5K organized by Girls On The Run Hudson Valley takes place on June 14 in Cornwall. The “fun run” brings all 23 teams together, and finishing times will not be recorded; this way, no child need be concerned about coming in first or last place. “It’s about building the girls’ confidence and giving them a sense of accomplishment,” Quimby says.

For more information on the program, visit www.girlsontherunhv.com.

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