It all comes down to Saturday. This is what they’ve trained for — a little over 3.1 miles, better known as a 5K. The Girls on the Run 5K at the Mall of America, to be exact.

Not even a little rain could keep the Hiawatha Leadership Academy-Morris Park girls and their coaches from training this week. They gathered in a circle in the gym to get warmed up, and Ms. Rachel LaMachia Stephens said a few words to get them amped up.

“Today is a very exciting day,” she said. “We’ve been working so hard to get our minds and our bodies ready to run our 5K at the Mall of America.”

Rachel talked about negative and positive self-talk, and the girls loosened up with a 3-minute dance party before heading out into the drizzly afternoon to do their practice 5K run.

“We’re going to run around the whole block. You’ll go around six times, and then you will have run a whole 5K.”

“That’s so far!” one little runner said.

To mark their laps, the girls were given a sticker every time they circled the block. From the looks of it, the athletes are ready for the race, which kicks off 9 a.m. Saturday. (Go Owls!)

Part of the Girls on the Run program is a community impact project, and the Owls team has been collecting donations for Ruff Start Rescue. They have been collecting dog and cat food, blankets and towels, pet beds, toys, leashes and money. Donations can be brought to Mr. Ryan Noshay’s room before Wednesday, Nov. 14.

The girls and coaches gathered in the gym at HLA-MP for a pep talk before their practice run.

The runners took time for a 3-minute dance party before heading outside to run a 5K.

Before any long run, it’s important to warm up.

To mark each lap, the girls were given a sticker to put on their shirts or coats.

Despite the drizzle, the girls and their coaches ran six laps around their school, which equals a 5K in distance.

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