The group consisted of 40 girls and their parents and teachers.
“In all, we had about 60 represented in the race from our school, as well as another 20-30 on the sidelines showing support,” said Margaret Cego, a parent volunteer.
Under the direction and guidance of Pam Rutland, special education teacher at Johnson and mother of Pavement Princess Julia Rutland, the group started training eight weeks ahead of the event with the goal of completing the 5K race.
While running was a portion of the time spent with the girls, the main focus was to build self-esteem in the students in grades third, fourth and fifth.
“Each week, we met after school with the girls to have a healthy snack, provided by our County Dietician Donna Carver, and then a weekly lesson to help build these girls up and build on their self-esteem,” said Crego. “We wrapped up each session with our weekly run.
Crego, also mom of a Pavement Princess Meredith Crego, lead the runs. The plan they followed was designed locally by Jay Stephenson of GoGo Running, who put a lot of time and thought into catering the training specifically to the girls.
Come race day the training paid off as everyone made it across the finish line while wearing their bright wear shirts featuring a pink tiara and the phase “today’s girls ... tomorrow’s leaders.
“This club is the first of hopefully many more clubs that will be started at Johnson Elementary,” Crego said, adding that PTO President Carolyn Falcitelli is passionate about bringing clubs to the school.
There was a $20 fee to join the Pavement Princessess, but that cost covered the team shirt and entry into the Run for the World 5K, and scholarships were available for those who needed them.
The fun and fitness will continue next school year too, and Crego has hopes that other schools fight follow their example.
“The club plans to continue in the fall, with sights of running a fall 5K. The spring training was quite warm, so we are hoping to start after Fall Break and maybe run the Jingle Jog out at Berry. No definite plans yet, but they hope to keep this going,” she said. “ I hope so, since it will be my daughter’s last year at Johnson next year. I think there are hopes for the Johnson Pavement Princesses to put on their own 5K as a way to raise money for the school, while hopefully getting additional Pavement Princess clubs started in our community.”
Anyone seeking more information on the club can contact Pam Rutland at Johnson Elementary at 706-236-1830 or by email to email@example.com. She said that is the best way to reach her.
“She organized it, she did everything,” said Crego. “I was just her sidekick.”