Sac Middle School 5k Organizers

Sacajawea Middles School students Nomi Friedman, 13, and Maya Keefer, 12, are the organizers behind the Run for the Trails 5k to take place on June 15. All proceeds from the race will be donated to Gallatin Valley Land Trust.

Nomi Friedman and Maya Keefer may be only 13 and 12 years old, but they’re already organizing a 5k run to raise money for a good cause.

They decided to raise money for the community’s open space and trails advocate, the Gallatin Valley Land Trust.

“We both really like trails and running,” Maya said. “We both really love GVLT.”

Nomi explained that they’re having their bat mitzvahs this summer, to mark becoming adults in the Jewish community. They are members of Temple Beth Shalom. As part of the ceremony, they are encouraged to do a project to give back to the community.

“It’s called tikkun olam – ‘repairing the world,’” Maya said.

“We have the freedom to pick whatever speaks to us,” Nomi said, “whatever passion we have.”

Run for the Trails Bozeman will be held on Saturday, June 15, at 10 a.m., starting in Lindley Park on Buttonwood Avenue. Runners will go up Peets Hill to the water tower and back to the Bozeman Public Library and Buttonwood. The entry fee is $18 for all runners. People can sign up online (https://runsignup.com/Race/MT/Bozeman/RunfortheTrailsBozeman).

It’s an informal run – no chip timing, but people can time themselves. And there will be prizes from a local running company, GVLT merchandise and free pizza.

“It’s meant to be fun and a fundraiser for GVLT so they can create more trails,” Nomi said.

So far they only have about 20 people signed up, but they’ve raised more than $1,400 through donations, Maya said.

They’ve presented their project to fellow sixth- and seventh-graders at Sacajawea Middle School and were surprised that a lot of kids aren’t aware of GVLT.

“I really love that we’re teaching our classmates about the beauty of nature and trails,” Maya said. “I feel grateful to live in a place where trails are everywhere and nature is everywhere.”

Nomi runs cross country with the Bozeman Track Club and is on the Bozeman Climbing Team and Ridge Team at Bridger Bowl. Maya has been skiing since about age 2 and does Nordic skiing with the Bridger Ski Foundation, climbing and biathlon.

For every mile people run in the 5k, that can raise an additional $1 through the GVLT Trails Challenge. From June 1 to 21, people can track their trail mileage online and it will raise money through a fund by companies like REI and Evergood.

The biggest challenge the girls have found in putting on a 5k? Finding insurance, Maya said. They’re sanctioned now by U.S. Track and Field. It has taught them “a lot of business skills,” Nomi said.

“It’s great to see young people supporting something important to our entire community,” said her dad, Adam Friedman.

“I’m super excited,” Nomi said. “This has been in my mind for a while. I’ve wanted to organize something for the community. It’s exciting to see the final product.”

Gail Schontzler can be reached at gails@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2633. Follow her on Twitter @gailnews.

Gail Schontzler covers schools and Montana State University for the Chronicle.

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