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Fitness

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There is a simple goal behind the Happy Girls Run series: get active and start smiling. This September, for the first time, the race will bring that message to the trails of Riverside State Park.

Produced by Lay It Out Events, based in Bend, Oregon, the Happy Girls Run series began there in 2011. The races, also held in Sisters, Oregon, and Portland this year, are designed to appeal to seasoned and first-time runners alike. Although guys are welcome to participate, the awards portion of the race is for females only. Men can, however, sign up as pacers, encouraging runners along the way.

The goal? Simply to provide an inspiring, joyful experience for all the participants.

And it seems organizers have a pretty good idea of how to make a girl smile. Extensive goody bags come with registration for the half-marathon ($85), 10k ($45), or 5k ($35), and include everything from customized jewelry to on-trend activewear and T-shirts. The race is bordered by pre- and post-run parties, which include catered food, cocktails, and live entertainment. The start- and finish-line atmosphere is injected with the energy of yoga classes and music.

It's not just about running. It's about celebrating being active and healthy. Happy Girls also is passionate about supporting a local cause. A portion of event proceeds will go to Statement, a Spokane nonprofit dedicated to the prevention of dating abuse. Statement focuses on helping youth develop awareness and leadership skills through classes and conferences around Spokane. ♦

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