Frequently Asked Questions

What is Girls on the Run®?

Girls on the Run, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is a physical activity-based positive youth development (PA-PYD) program designed to enhance girls’ social, emotional and physical skills and behaviors to successfully navigate life experiences. The program’s intentional curriculum places an emphasis on developing competence, confidence, connection, character, caring and contribution in young girls through lessons that incorporate running and other physical activities. The life skills curriculum is delivered by caring and competent coaches who are trained to teach lessons as intended.

Girls on the Run International is the parent organization to 175+ local councils, serving over 200,000 girls annually.

What is the history of the organization?

Girls on the Run was established in 1996 in Charlotte, North Carolina, with a team of 13 brave girls. 26 girls came the next season, then 75, and the program continued to grow. In 2000, Girls on the Run International, a 501(c)(3) organization, was born. With the help of over 100,000 volunteers, 200 local councils serve more than 200,000 girls annually in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Girls on the Run hosts more than 350 end-of-season 5K events across the United States, making the Girls on the Run 5K series the largest in the country.

How is Girls on the Run different from other running programs?

Unlike other programs, Girls on the Run combines both life skills learning and physical activity. It is our research-based curriculum and nationally recognized coach training program that sets us apart from other programs. In fact, an independent study showed that Girls on the Run participants were significantly more likely than girls in organized sports to learn and use life skills such as managing emotions, resolving conflict, helping others and making intentional decisions.

What is a council?

Girls on the Run impacts communities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia through its network of over 200 councils. Community-based and led by professional staff, councils are independent 501(c)(3) organizations that offer the Girls on the Run programs within their designated territories. Find a council near you here.

I don’t have a council near me, how do I start one?

Thank you for your interest in bringing Girls on the Run to your community! Please begin by determining if your geographic area is currently being served by an existing Girls on the Run council. You can do this by visiting the Connect Locally page and typing in your zip code. If a council is serving your area, please contact them to discuss available opportunities to get involved.

If your area is not currently being served,  you will be prompted to complete a form and providing additional information. Our Council Development team will review and assess if there is adequate support to build the infrastructure necessary to sustain the work of a council in your area. In cases where building a new council is not feasible, there may be other opportunities to bring Girls on the Run programming to your community.

How do I start a Girls on the Run team?

Please visit the Connect Locally page and enter your zip code and contact your local council for details on next steps.

How can I enroll my girl in Girls on the Run, become a volunteer, or otherwise get involved?

Please visit the Connect Locally page and enter your zip code to connect with your local Girls on the Run council.

How can I bring Girls on the Run to my country (outside of the U.S.)?

Thank you so much for your interest in empowering girls throughout the world! There are certain legal requirements involved with taking the Girls on the Run program to new countries. Currently, we have councils in the United States and Canada only. Additional international expansion is currently on hold. We do keep record of individuals with an interest in introducing Girls on the Run to other countries and will reach out when expansion is available. Please complete an international inquiry form.

How much does it cost to join Girls on the Run?

Girls on the Run is a program like no other! Girls will have fun, make friends, increase their physical activity levels and learn important life skills. We are a nonprofit organization, not a school-sponsored club or sports program. Therefore, we rely on registration fees, donations, sponsorships and other support to provide a safe, inclusive and one-of-a-kind experience for your girl. The registration cost varies by council, and financial assistance is available. Please connect with your local council to learn more.

What does the registration fee cover?

Unlike other programs, Girls on the Run combines both life skills learning and physical activity. The program fee includes lessons led by caring and trained Girls on the Run Coaches, an official Girls on the Run T-shirt, all program materials including activity sheets and lap counters, registration for the end-of-season celebratory 5K, a 5K finisher’s medal, and most importantly, friendships, fun and lessons to last a lifetime! The fee varies by community and financial assistance is available. Please contact your local council to learn more.

Is financial assistance available?

We believe that Girls on the Run should be accessible to all girls and, therefore, financial assistance is available to qualifying families. Financial assistance is determined independently by local Girls on the Run councils.

How does Girls on the Run ensure its programs are inclusive?

At Girls on the Run, our core values guide us to be open-hearted, intentional decision makers who embrace differences and stand up for ourselves and others. We strive for our programs to be accessible and welcoming to those who want to participate. We honor this commitment by ensuring that:

  • We remain mindful of participation barriers and strive to find ways to eliminate them.
  • All aspects of the registration process are equitable.
  • Our commitment to access is clearly communicated to all communities.
  • All participants feel that the curriculum is relevant and reflects their life experiences.
  • All participants feel listened to, valued and part of a team.
  • We welcome children who identify as girls, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming to participate.
  • We have adapted the curriculum so that those who have disabilities can safely and successfully participate.
  • All participants have a coach who has been trained to understand social context, create positive inclusive environments, and build genuine relationships.
My child has a disability. Can she participate in Girls on the Run?

Girls on the Run believes that girls with and without disabilities deserve to participate in our program. The volunteers and staff are committed to providing the most inclusive environment possible at practice and at the end-of-season 5K Celebration through:

  • Including a specific focus on serving girls with a range of disabilities in our coach training.
  • Recognizing that each of our participants is wonderfully unique and may need accommodations that our coaches have not considered. The guidance of grown-ups is welcomed and encouraged to provide a safe, inclusive environment.
  • Providing an inclusion guide to coaches with specific lesson adaptations for participants with physical, sensory, and intellectual disabilities.

Please contact your local Girls on the Run council with specific questions or to register.

Is there a Boys on the Run program?

There is not a Boys on the Run program; however, there may be comparable boy programming in your community offered by another organization.

Why is Girls on the Run only for girls?

Girls on the Run designs programs specifically for girls, with the needs of today’s girl central to the curricula. Historically, girls have had limited access to opportunities in sports and physical activity-based contexts. While the number of opportunities has increased since the inception of Title IX, girls continue to receive lower levels of social support for participation and stop taking part at higher rates due to these barriers.  Additionally, programs often fail to provide a learning climate which supports the optimal physical and emotional development of girls.  As such, extensive efforts have gone into the design and evaluation of Girls on the Run to specifically address topics and challenges that girls encounter during late childhood and adolescence in a psychologically safe environment.

Does Girls on the Run allow transgender youth to participate?

We respect and value the individuality and dignity of all people and welcome children who identify as girls, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming to participate in our program. One of our core values is to embrace our differences and find strength in our connectedness and this policy reflects that.

Where can I buy Girls on the Run products?

The GOTRShop has an exciting selection of youth and adult apparel, as well as fun GOTR accessories and gifts. Your local council may also have a selection of products available for purchase at the end-of-season 5K. Your purchase will give more girls the opportunity to participate in our life-changing programs!