Girls On The Run FAQs

What does Girls on the Run do?

One girl put it this way, "I learned that I am the boss of my brain." Helping girls take charge of their lives and define the future on their terms. You can also think of it as Can University—a place where girls learn that they can. No limits. No constraints. Only opportunities to be remarkable.

How do we play a role in our girls' lives?

Lots of ways, but we start with helping the girls get a better understanding of who they are and what's important to them. Then we look at the role of teams and healthy relationships. And, finally, we explore how girls can positively connect with and shape the world. And remember, we believe that life-changing experiences can be fun too—for everyone—the girls, coaches, families and other volunteers. So don't be surprised when you hear laughter along with self-reflection and see beaming smiles across the beautiful, confident faces of our girls.

What does Girls on the Run do?

One girl put it this way, “I learned that I am the boss of my brain.” Helping girls take charge of their lives and define the future on their terms. You can also think of it as Can University – a place where girls learn that they can. No limits. No constraints. Only opportunities to be remarkable.

How do we play a role in our girls’ lives?

Lots of ways, but we start with helping the girls get a better understanding of who they are and what’s important to them. Then we look at the role of teams and healthy relationships. And, finally, we explore how girls can positively connect with and shape the world. And remember, we believe that life-changing experiences can be fun too – for everyone – the girls, coaches, families, and other volunteers. So don’t be surprised when you hear laughter along with self-reflection and see beaming smiles across the beautiful, confident faces of our girls.

Why the young age?

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.

How are participants chosen?

In an effort to make the program accessible, online registration is not first-come, first-served. In the event that there are more girls interested in participating at a particular site than available spots, GOTR Central Indiana will use a lottery system to randomly select girls to form a team. Once families have completed the online registration form, they will receive a confirmation email. This email does not guarantee a spot for the participant; it confirms that the registration has been received. The credit card will only be charged if a participant enters the program. Families will be notified of their registration status within three days of the close of registration.

Why is there a lottery system?

The shortest answer is the lottery is our way of providing equal access to participation. Even though our programs are for all girls, there are limits on team size – and on space and available volunteer coaches at each school/site. We also want to be sensitive to the fact that everyone can’t get to a computer to register at a certain time. Some families have computers in their home; some do not. So, if more girls are interested in a specific team than space allows, the lottery gives everyone an chance at participation.

What is the fee and what does it include?

The fee is $130 for every participant. The fee includes:

  • Lessons conducted by certified GOTR coaches
  • Lesson handouts and materials
  • Fun giveaway items from national sponsors and coaches
  • An official Girls on the Run t-shirt
  • GOTR 5k race registration
  • GOTR 5k medal
  • A healthy snack at each lesson

Some schools/sites do incur an additional fee per participant to cover the facility rental fee charged by the school/site for use of their property. 

Do you offer financial aid?

Yes, financial aid is available for participants who are unable to pay the $130 fee. Qualifying criteria includes household income and number of people in the household.

Why are the group sizes 8 to 15 girls?

We find that our teams are most effective with 8 to 15 girls. Much of the GOTR curriculum is designed to build team dynamics among the girls. Teams must have at least 8 girls in order for the activities in each lesson to be effective and yet we also need to ensure the size of the group is manageable for our coaches. Because we also want each girl to contribute to our conversations during each lesson, we are committed to keeping the groups to a reasonable size. If sites have more than 15 girls who want to join the program, they may be considered for multiple teams if space and resources allow. Generally, new groups are not added at the last minute due to the time needed to prepare for a group, train and screen coaches, etc.

Can my child participate at another site if the program is not at her school?

YES! GOTR Central Indiana aspires to make the program accessible to as many girls as possible. Many of our sites allow girls to participate at a school/site that they do not attend if:

  • Transportation is not an issue
  • The girl is able to attend the entire practice
  • The school does not have policies that could preclude participation
  • The girl is grade-eligible for the program.

How can I start the program at my daughter’s school?

Girls on the Run Central Indiana is able to provide programming throughout Boone, Clinton, Hamilton, Hancock and Tippecanoe Counties at schools, churches, community centers, etc. If you are interested in bringing the program to a facility, please visit our Starting a New Site page for more information. 

If my child can only attend one practice per week, may I still register her for the program?

No, full participation is required. This leads to a healthy group dynamic, an experiential learning process, and provides for appropriate training to complete the end-of-season 5k.

My child wants to withdraw from the program. May I get a refund?

Program fees are non-refundable once the program begins. Prior to the program start date, fees may be refunded minus a processing fee of $10.

Why does it cost more than other programs like soccer and other track programs?

As mentioned above, Girls on the Run is more than a recreational program. We are part of an International program that requires us to pay for the curriculum and other copyrighted program materials. Also, unlike recreational sports, our program uses games to emphasize and reinforce the lessons we teach. Most of these games have parts and pages that need to be replaced each season.

Is it safe for young girls to run the 5K (3.1 miles) distance?

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

Do we have to attend the 5K race at the end of the season?

The community 5K is not a requirement; however, it is a HUGE accomplishment that all of the girls have trained for during the season and are able to complete. All girls complete a practice 5K and are prepared for the community race. This is a great opportunity for family, friends, and GOTR participants to support and encourage each other in a celebration of what they have accomplished during the season.

Can my daughter repeat the program?

Yes! Each of our curricula was designed to be used over and over again, with girls new to the program, and with girls repeating the program. We also know what a child experiences and learnes in Girls on the Run as a third grader is quite different from what she learns as a fifth or seventh grader. With repetition, the depths of learning and the ability of a girl to apply what she learns at each lesson is greater. Within Girls on the Run, we rotate between three curricula, so our girls experience similar topics, but with different games and activities from one season to the next. With that experience, returning girls often naturally step into mentoring and leadership roles.

What should my daughter wear and bring to the sessions?

  • Your daughter should wear comfortable clothes (i.e., t-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts and sweats are the best options). Remember that most days the girls will be outside so they will need to dress appropriately and layering may be necessary.
  • Girls need to wear socks and athletic shoes. If girls show up in sandals, flip-flops or other shoes that are not safe to run in, she will be able to participate; however, she will not be able to run. Running barefoot is never allowed. 
  • A water bottle so she can stay hydrated during the session.
  • A positive can-do attitude.

Can parents/guardians run with the girls at the 5K?

YES! GOTR 5Ks are family-friendly events! We ask that every girl has an 16+ year old to run with her during the run. Please visit our 5K page for more information. 

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

Girls on the Run is much more than a running program. Our program follows a set curriculum that has been tested and proven to “statistically improve girls’ self-esteem and body image.” The curriculum involves games and game pieces that reinforce the key concepts in each lesson. The girls are exposed to and encouraged to actively participate in making the connection between what the lessons are teaching and the “real” life situations. Upon completion of the program, girls not only have increased physical fitness, they are more confident and have a set of “tools” to deal with peer pressure and other issues of adolescence.

Simple, engaging and extraordinary. The result? Healthy, confident girls who can.