Run Girl Run” Program Brings Mom and Daughter Closer Together

DATE: August 10, 2005

CONTACT: Communication Office
(802) 863-7281

BURLINGTON – Celine Rathe and her 11-year-old daughter, Anne didn’t come close to winning the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure July 31 in Manchester, Vt., but both women are being heralded as winners and role models by Vermont Governor Jim Douglas.

Anne was one of more than 330 middle school students from the “Run Girl Run” program who completed the 5-kilometer race. Celine, who ran part of the race side-by-side with her daughter, surprised herself and finished without once coming to a complete stop.

As a way to combat an escalation in childhood obesity rates statewide, Governor Douglas charged the Vermont Department of Health and Department of Education to create Fit & Healthy Kids in 2003, a comprehensive program that promotes increased physical activity and improved nutrition. Motivated to get in shape and encouraged by her friends, Anne became involved in the “Run Girl Run” program at Colchester Middle School. Her mother signed up for “First Strides,” a beginner walking or running program operated out of the Racquet’s Edge in Essex Junction, Vt.

Governor Douglas said healthy choices by one family member can influence everyone around them. “Seeing hundreds of middle school girls complete the race Sunday, including many who may not have run before, is inspiring. ‘Run Girl Run’ is an excellent program that is improving the health, well-being and quality of life for young women and families all across Vermont,” the Governor added.  “As we all place a greater emphasis on eating well and getting plenty of exercise,  we’re not only getting healthier we’re also helping to lower health care costs by preventing chronic and costly medical conditions.”

Celine Rathe, at the age of 43, lost seven pounds in her first 12 weeks of running. Anne plans to run track in high school.
“I enjoy it,” Anne said. “We did this model run on the high school track where you run four times around in the beginning, and then everyone went back (after 10 weeks of training) to see if we could beat our time. Everyone did. I was faster.”
Self improvement, rather than competition, is the driving force behind both ‘Run Girl Run’ and ‘First Strides.’

“Even though my ‘First Strides’ group isn’t meeting right now, I did 3.7 miles yesterday,” Rathe said. “And I’ve run a few times with my daughter, including on the roads and once on the high school track. I showed my daughter I was willing to run to reach a healthier state. She could see every Wednesday night I was meeting with my group, and Tuesday and Thursday she was meeting with her group. Running has brought us closer together.”

More information about Fit & Healthy Kids and Run Girl Run can be found on the Health Department website at