Q: What is your program?
A: Girls on the Run of Central Ohio is a life-changing, character development program for 3rd – 8th grade girls in Central Ohio. We use positive reinforcement and encouraging role models to provide girls with the confidence they need in those critical pre-teen years. Each 1 to 1.5 hour long lesson combines running and walking games with various life skills, including healthy eating, leadership, setting goals, cooperation, and other age-appropriate topics. At the end of the season, the girls participate together in a 5K run/walk.

Q: Are you a local or national organization?
A: We are a local independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit and the local chapter of a national organization, Girls on the Run International. The national organization has over 170 chapters across the U.S. and Canada.

Q: Where are your programs?
A: We have various sites throughout Central Ohio. Visit our Program page for more details: http://girlsontherunfranklincounty.org/registration/. For more information on our sites or starting a program at your school, please contact gotrcosites@gmail.com

Q: What times do your programs meet?
A: Currently, our programs are held after school or in the evenings 2 days per week. (M/W or T/TH)

Q: How long is your program?
A: Our 10-12 week programs meet twice per week for an hour to an 1-1.5 hours at various locations in Central Ohio. Our fall season runs from mid-September through early December, and our spring season runs from early March to early June. At the end of both seasons, the girls participate in a local 5k run/walk.

Q: Do you have a summer program?
A: No, at the moment we do not offer a summer program.

Q: Can my daughter participate if there isn’t a Girls on the Run program at her school?
A: Yes. We currently offer a community location at Holden Recreation Center in the Hilltop neighborhood of Columbus. Girls on the Run and Girls on Track programs are both offered at this location.

Q: Do you put on your own 5k race for the girls? Can anyone participate?
A: We hold a 5K event at the end of each fall and spring session. These events are open to all Girls on the Run participants and the public. You can visit for more details: http://girlsontherunfranklincounty.org/5k/. If you are interested in helping or volunteering, please e-mail us at gotrfranklinco5K@gmail.com

Q: Can my daughter participate in the program again after one season?
A: Absolutely! The girls have the option to repeat the program season after season. For the 3rd-5th grade program, we use Curriculum One in the fall and Curriculum Two in the spring, so the games and activities are unique.

Q: What age groups can participate in the GOTR program?
A: Girls need to be in the 3rd through 8th grades. The Girls on the Run curriculum is for girls in 3rd through 5th grades, and the Girls on Track curriculum is for girls in 6th through 8th grades. This ensures all girls are receiving age-appropriate lessons.

Q: Why the young age?
A: Studies show that girls between the ages of eight and twelve are still receptive to adult influence, while beginning to feel peer pressure. It is a period in our emotional and intellectual development when we become aware of and begin to recognize important life and relationship issues. In addition, learning to value physical activity early in life increases the likelihood of participants staying physically healthy into adulthood. Studies show that those who develop exercise habits by their teen years are most likely to maintain those habits for life. Regular, moderate exercise improves cardiovascular functioning, reduces the risk of developing breast cancer, osteoporosis and obesity and positively counters the effects of depression and anxiety.
-Russell R. Pate, Ph.D., Department of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina

Q: Is it safe for young girls to run the 5K (3.1 mile) distance?
A: Children’s bodies are well suited for endurance exercise, and numerous studies have shown that children show many positive physiological adaptations to endurance exercise training. The keys are gradual progression and common-sense adult supervision. If those conditions are met, running 3 miles is a reasonable goal for most young people.
-Russell R. Pate, Ph.D., Department of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina

Q: Do you have a boys program?
A: Girls on the Run International piloted a boys program within their Charlotte, NC Council for several years. In early 2005, they made the difficult decision to cancel the pilot program due to lack of interest. They hope that the support needed to have a successful program will present itself in the future. Girls on the Run International will continue to have Boys on the Run in its long-range plan. It is their wish that one day we will have a program equally as successful for boys as we have for girls.

Q: Do you have a program for high school girls?
A: While we do not have a dedicated high school program, we have had great success with having high school girls help with the 3rd – 5th grade program. Not only does this build leadership in the older girls, it provides additional positive role models for the younger girls in the program. We will welcome the help of high school girls with our program.

Q: What does it cost?
A: The program registration fee is $150. This amount includes 20-24 uplifting lessons, GOTR t-shirt, waterbottle, healthy snacks after each lesson, and the 5K entry. We offer registration on a sliding fee scale. We do not want to turn away any girl due to inability to pay the full registration fee. Our actual cost to run the program is $150 for each girl and by offering the program on a sliding scale fee, it will allow us to offer scholarship dollars for the girls who need it most.

Q: Do girls need to like running to sign up for the program?
A: No, we are not a typical track program. We encourage our girls to run, walk, hop, skip and jump throughout practice and all the way to the finish line. Because our program is non-competitive, we attract girls of all shapes, sizes and abilities and just ask them to try their best.

Q:Who are the coaches?
A: All of our coaches are volunteers that want to share their passion for leading a healthy, active lifestyle with young girls. Like our girls, our coaches are a diverse group, each with unique skills and talents and each focused on providing encouragement and empowerment to the girls.

Q: Do you have to be female to be a coach?
A: No. While we do ask that the Head Coach of a location be female, we have had great success with male Assistant Coaches. The girls seem to value the fact that men care about their health and other issues, too. We do ask that all coaches (women and men) recognize that our program is non-competitive and there is a certain amount of silliness required. Whether it is doing the “dead bug” cheer or celebrating with the funky chicken dance, all of our coaches need to be comfortable with having fun!

Q: What is the coaching commitment?
A: All head coaches, assistant coaches, and running buddies must complete an application, attend the coaches training, undergo a background check. Head coaches must be available to coach at least 1 day (preferably 2 days) per week for 10-12 weeks. Assistant coaches and running buddies must work with their head coaches to commit to a consistent schedule throughout the season. Coaches do not need to be runners or have previous coaching experience as they will receive coaches training, our well-defined curriculum, and all materials needed to deliver the program.


Q: How can I volunteer?
A: Girls on the Run relies on volunteers to work directly with our girls and coach our programs. In addition to coaching, we have several other volunteer opportunities including: 5K race day event volunteers, SoleMates participants, committee members and various other projects. See the Volunteer page for a list of opportunities.

Q: Do I have to be a runner to get involved with Girls on the Run?
A: Absolutely not. Our organization depends greatly on all types of volunteers! Even our coaches are not required to be runners; we just look for people who value leading a healthy lifestyle and can share that passion and enthusiasm with our girls. In addition to coaching, we are always looking for other volunteers to help in a variety of ways.

Q: What is involved with starting a new Girls on the Run site?
A: Girls on the Run provides an easy-to-follow curriculum, all program materials, all incentives for the girls, and coaches training. We do ask that each location provide at least one coach and site liaison. For more information about what is needed to bring GOTR to your location contact Jessica, executive director at gotrfranklincoED@gmail.com