Event organizers hope more than 1,000 people descend on Genoa Park for a fitness event designed to empower women.

Event organizers hope more than 1,000 people descend on Genoa Park for a fitness event designed to empower women.

The Gildan Esprit de She Columbus 5K-10K will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 22 at Genoa Park, 303 W. Broad St. It will feature drinks, food, a "beauty bar" and music, and it will benefit the nonprofit Girls on the Run of Franklin County.

Lindsay Sachs, founder of Esprit de She, a Life Time Fitness brand, said Gildan Esprit de She events have been held since 2013. Eleven events across nine cities were held last year, and this is the first time the event has come to Columbus.

Part of the reason Columbus was chosen, Sachs said, is the strong Life Time Fitness presence in the area.

The event is on a Thursday, Sachs said, and was designed to create a "happy hour" setting for women to gather for fitness after work or class. Genoa Park is well positioned near downtown businesses, to cater to women coming from work. The green space and amphitheater also provide a good backdrop for the event and race course.

"We felt like it was the ideal location for people to gather," Sachs said.

Sachs said supporting Girls on the Run made sense, because adult female runners attending the events can sympathize with the dreams and insecurities young girls face.

"We felt like it was a very universal organization that everybody can relate to and feel good about supporting," she said.

Gildan, a family apparel supplier, will give $1,500 to Girls on the Run of Franklin County during the event awards ceremony to support 10 girls' scholarships through the Girls on the Run program, Sachs said. Attendees will have the opportunity to make voluntary donations to the charity; $5 is donated for every registration generated through the nonprofit organization.

Girls on the Run

Girls on the Run focuses on giving girls life skills while also preparing them to run a 5K, said Jessica Sparks, council director for Girls on the Run of Franklin County.

The program seeks to help girls recover their self-esteem by instilling skills and providing support. Without feelings of self-worth, girls are at risk for drugs, alcohol, risky sexual behavior, socialization issues and negative body image, Sparks said.

Since the local Franklin County council was founded in the fall of 2008, the organization has served more than 5,500 girls in the county, Sparks said. The program is run during after-school hours. Two 10-week seasons are held per year -- one in the fall, and one in the spring.

The cost for one girl to attend a season is $150. The registration process allows families to choose the amount they are able to pay.

The council defrays registration costs by writing grants, hosting fundraisers and accepting donations.

Benefit events like Gildan Esprit de She Columbus 5K-10K also help.

The council serves about 1,000 girls during one 10-week season, and about 450 coaches are in the program, Sparks said.

"We are always looking for folks to become involved with Girls on the Run," she said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah