A Fun 5K for the Whole Family


A few weeks ago I had the fun of shooting a Girls on the Run 5K sponsored by the Whatcom Family YMCA in Bellingham, Wash. It was a simple assignment for Whatcom Family Health Magazine, which is part of The Bellingham Herald.

Father/Daughter Time

Mike Wylie of Blaine and daughter Olivia, 9, take a selfie before the start of the 2016 Girls On The Run 5K on Saturday morning June 4, 2016, at Lake Padden in Bellingham, Wash. GOTR director Jen Gallant said over 700 people registered for the fun run which included 400 participants in the GOTR and Trailblazer program as well as 300 adults from various YMCAs around the Puget Sound. She added GOTR is a YMCA after school program designed to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Mike Wylie of Blaine and daughter Olivia, 9, take a selfie before the start of the 2016 Girls On The Run 5K on Saturday morning June 4, 2016, at Lake Padden in Bellingham, Wash. GOTR director Jen Gallant said over 700 people registered for the fun run which included 400 participants in the GOTR and Trailblazer program as well as 300 adults from various YMCAs around the Puget Sound. She added GOTR is a YMCA after school program designed to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

The 5K is the end cap of a program which helps empower young girls to follow and fulfill their dreams. Girls on the Run is a national program based out of Charlotte, N.C., and locally sponsored by the Whatcom Family YMCA.

Getting Gussied Up

Zakara Braun, 9, protects her eyes as she gets her hair colored by volunteer Vanessa Vaughn before the start of the 2016 Girls On The Run 5K on Saturday morning June 4, 2016, at Lake Padden in Bellingham, Wash. GOTR director Jen Gallant said over 700 people registered for the fun run which included 400 participants in the GOTR and Trailblazer program as well as 300 adults from various YMCAs around the Puget Sound. She added GOTR is a YMCA after school program designed to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Zakara Braun, 9, protects her eyes as she gets her hair colored by volunteer Vanessa Vaughn before the start of the 2016 Girls On The Run 5K on Saturday morning June 4, 2016, at Lake Padden in Bellingham, Wash. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Before the race, girls would go to get their hair spray painted and have temporary tattoos painted on their faces. It was also a time for the more serious racers to warm up. Most of the kids and adults just had fun.

In Your places!

Girls on the Run Director Jen Gallant directs the over 700 participants to the start line of the 2016 Girls On The Run 5K on Saturday morning June 4, 2016, at Lake Padden in Bellingham, Wash. GOTR director Jen Gallant said over 700 people registered for the fun run which included 400 participants in the GOTR and Trailblazer program as well as 300 adults from various YMCAs around the Puget Sound. She added GOTR is a YMCA after school program designed to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Girls on the Run Director Jen Gallant directs the over 700 participants to the start line of the 2016 Girls On The Run 5K. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

The race began a the ballfields at Lake Padden here in Bellingham. The course circumnavigated the lake with various spots to stop for water. One thing I wish I had my bicycle.

Crowded Start –

Whatcom Family YMCA healthy living coordinator Tammy Bennett gets ready at the start line to lead the racers through the 2016 Girls On The Run 5K course on Saturday morning June 4, 2016, at Lake Padden in Bellingham, Wash. GOTR director Jen Gallant said over 700 people registered for the fun run which included 400 participants in the GOTR and Trailblazer program as well as 300 adults from various YMCAs around the Puget Sound. She added GOTR is a YMCA after school program designed to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Whatcom Family YMCA healthy living coordinator Tammy Bennett gets ready at the start line to lead the racers through the 2016 Girls On The Run 5K course. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Two fun places I wanted to get to but could not due to time were the bubble and watering station. It was just a 5K and only a Fun Run. But still, I had an assignment and wanted to do it well.

Getting Run Over!

Participants take off from the start during the 2016 Girls On The Run 5K on Saturday morning June 4, 2016, at Lake Padden in Bellingham, Wash. GOTR director Jen Gallant said over 700 people registered for the fun run which included 400 participants in the GOTR and Trailblazer program as well as 300 adults from various YMCAs around the Puget Sound. She added GOTR is a YMCA after school program designed to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Participants take off from the start during the 2016 Girls On The Run 5K. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

At the start, I positioned my self at the first corner. About 50 yards into the race the course turned left. I knew I could get a good compression shot of all the racers as they began, then drop to one knee and get a wide shot as they ran past. But they ended up running past me on all sides!

Have a Lei!

Volunteer Alyson Carlyon, right, hands out leis to runners as they begin the last mile titled “” of the 2016 Girls On The Run 5K on Saturday morning June 4, 2016, at Lake Padden in Bellingham, Wash. GOTR director Jen Gallant said over 700 people registered for the fun run which included 400 participants in the GOTR and Trailblazer program as well as 300 adults from various YMCAs around the Puget Sound. She added GOTR is a YMCA after school program designed to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

Volunteer Alyson Carlyon, right, hands out leis to runners as they begin the last mile titled “The Maui Mile” of the 2016 Girls On The Run 5K. (© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald)

After the start, I walked on the course backwards to get a few runners in the thick of the forest. I came upon one station called the Maui Mile. A group of women handing out leis to the participants in honor of the last mile of the race. It was a fun photo-op so I stayed for a bit.

I missed pretty much everyone crossing the finish line, but the point of the run was not the finish, but the fun and the participation.

To view more photos of the run, view the page Girls on the Run Family Fun Run 5K

To see more of my work, visit the galleries at My Work for the Bellingham Herald.

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Paul “pablo” Conrad

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Paul Conrad is a talented and skilled award-winning photographer living in Bellingham north of Seattle, WA, in the Pacific Northwest. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and in Europe. He is available for assignments anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. Although his specialty is photojournalism covering news, sports, and editorial portraits, he also is skilled in family portraiture, high school senior portraits, and weddings.

His clients include Getty Images, Wire Image, AirBnB, The Bellingham Herald, and many local business in Whatcom County. Previous clients are Associated Press, the New York Times, L.A. Times, Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, and many others.

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