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.

Is it safe for the young girls to run the 5k (3.1 mile) 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 you have to be a runner or athlete to participate in Girls on the Run?

No. Girls on the Run is a physical activity based positive youth development program (PA-PYD) designed to develop and enhance girls’ social, psychological and physical competencies to successfully navigate life experiences. Girls can hop, skip, walk, and run they just have to move forward like in life. 

How often do the Girls attend practice?

There are two practices a week that last 90 minutes. Please check your site for specifics regarding practice days and times.

Girls will become ineligible to participate in Girls on the Run if they miss more than 4 practices a season. If you have any questions/concerns regarding our attendance policy please contact the Girls on the Run office 757-965-9040.

Does my daughter have to attend every practice?

Due to the importance of group dynamics and the experiential learning process of the Girls on the Run curriculum, girls who are absent for more than four (4) practices during one season will no longer be eligible to participate in Girls on the Run.  It is critically important to the efficacy of the girl’s program experience that they participate in both sessions each week.  Girls are NOT allowed to attend only one session a week.

May parents attend practice?

Parents are welcome to observe from a distance; however, no adults will be allowed to participate unless they have completed a background check and attended coach training. Coaches are available before and after practice to answer any questions. If you have any concerns you are welcome to contact the office 757-965-9040. 

When is Girls on the Run offered?

We have a fall and Spring season depending on location. The fall season runs from September to December. The spring season runs from February to May. Please check back for exact dates.

Our Spring 2015 season kicks off the week of February 9th. The End of Season 5k Celebration will be Saturday, May 9th. Registration opens January 16th for the spring season. 

What should my daughter bring or wear to practice?

Your child should always bring athletic shoes, preferably running shoes, to workout in. Don’t forget to bring socks too. Please wear clothes appropriate for running and playing. Shorts and a t-shirt work best. If it is really hot, wear light colored, loose fitting clothing. If it is very cold, layering works best- wear an undershirt with a sweatshirt and/or sweatpants. You may need to wear a warm hat and mittens if it gets really cold. We will move practice inside if there is inclement weather (rain, snow, sleet, etc), but always have your child come prepared!

Is there anything else my child needs to bring with them?

We will provide a healthy snack for the girls. They will also receive a water bottle that they should bring with them to every practice. 

How can I apply for a scholarship?

We offer financial assistance for those in need. Please contact the Girls on the Run office 757-965-9040.

Do I need to be a runner to coach Girls on the Run?

No. To coach Girls on the Run, you do not need to be a runner.  You need to have a commitment to living a healthy lifestyle.

What are the requirements to be a coach?

All of our volunteer coaches are required to:

  • Fill out the required volunteer paperwork
  • Complete GOTR National Coach Certification Training
  • Successfully pass a background check
  • Head and assistant coaches must be 18 years of age or older. Junior coaches are 16-18 years of age

What are the requirements to be a Head Coach?

The Head Coach is a volunteer position that works with the other coaches to deliver the curriculum. The position is required to:

  • Attend National Coach Certification coach training
  • Successfully pass a background check
  • CPR/First Aid Certification
  • 21 years of age or older
  • Head coaches are required to attend and prepare both practices each week. 

What are the requirements to be an Assistant Coach?

The assistant coach is a volunteer position that works with the head coach and other assistant coaches to deliver the curriculum. The position is required to:

  • Complete GOTR National Coach Certification Training
  • Successfully pass a background check
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Assistant coaches must commit to one to two practices each week. If assisting one day a week, it should be the same day each week so the girls and other volunteer coaches know what to count on. 

What are the requirements to be a Junior Coach?

The Junior Coach is a volunteer position for individuals to assist the Head and Assistant Coaches.

  • Junior Coaches must be between the ages of 16 and 18.
  • Complete GOTR National Coach Certification Training
  • Successfully pass a background check
  • Junior Coaches can choose to attend both practices each week or commit to only one day per week. If assisting one day a week, it should be the same day each week so the girls and other volunteer coaches know what to count on.

How long does it take to prepare a Girls on the Run lesson?

On average, we suggest allowing 30 minutes to read and review the lessons before you coach them.  As the season goes along, you get into the flow of the lessons and can read them and feel prepared more quickly.   You will be given a box with all of the supplies and materials you will need for the season

Will I be the only coach there?

No.  Two volunteer coaches are required to be at each lesson.  You can choose to sign up to coach with a friend, or we will partner you with other volunteers.  You will always have help and back up! If you are unable to coach one day leaving only one coach in charge please contact the Girls on the Run office immediately and we will try to find a substitute coach. 

How many girls will I be coaching?

Each team will consist of a minimum of 8 girls and a maximum of 20.

How old are the girls?

The girls will be in third-fifth grads, 8-12 years old for Girls on the Run or 6th-8th (12-14 year olds) for Girls on Track.

What can I get out of SoleMates?

As a SoleMate you will be part of a group that serves as motivation and inspiration through out training and the big race.  You will be given a customized training plan while helping you accomplish your fitness goal.  You’ll also be given team apparel and a free 5k race entry.  SoleMates is the perfect way to meet like-minded male and female athletes who have the same goal of encouraging the young girls of our community

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.

Can I get a refund?

Yes. The girl’s parent/guardian (not the coach) is responsible for contacting Girls on the Run if their daughter is dropping from the program. Girls on the Run will issue a full refund if a girl drops the program before the end of the first week from the start of the season.   A partial refund will be given before the second week of the program, No refund will be issued for any cancellations after the 2nd week from when the season begins.  If a site is canceled due to insufficient registration or other circumstances deemed appropriate by the Director of Operations, the full registration fee will be refunded.


Is there a cost to be a coach?

No, there is no cost to be a coach. This includes the coach training, background check, coach t-shirt, and entry into the 5K race.

What if I can only make one practice per week?

Coaches are encouraged to attend every practice. This helps to build relationships between the coach and the girls. However, some assistant coaches are only able to attend one lesson a week. If this is the case we encourage the coach to be consistent and come to practice the same day each week. Head coaches are required to attend every practice. 

When and where are the coach trainings?

We offer several coach trainings before every season. Please email Yazmin or Maria, Program Outreach Coordinators with questions about registering to become a coach. 

What is a Running Buddy?

A Running Buddy runs, walks, skips or hops with a GOTR girl during her 5K experience at the end of season 5k. That means keeping pace with the girl, ensuring her safety, and cheering her on!

What are the requirements to be a running buddy?

  •        Must be 16 years or older by the date of the 5k.
  •        New and returning Running Buddies must consent to a background check.
  •        Must attend the 5k race.  Each Running Buddy is matched with a specific girl based on walking/running pace

Do Running Buddies have to run?

No, Running Buddies do not have to run. Running Buddies may be of all fitness abilities, but they do need to be able to complete a 5K. Running Buddies will be matched as best as possible according to pace.

What are some qualities of a Running Buddy?

Running Buddies are fun loving, patient and supportive, they enjoy spending time with youth and have the ability to run or power walk a 5K.

Can males volunteer as Running Buddies?

Running Buddies must be female, unless they are a parent/guardian, family member, or school staff. We strongly encourage families to participate in the program, and we encourage males to be Running Buddies only if they know the girl prior to Girls on the Run. We believe that girls benefit from having positive male role figures in their lives!

Does a Running Buddy have to register for the 5k race?

Yes. Running buddies must register for the 5k race in order to run alongside the girl. Running Buddies receive a discounted race fee if they register before online registration closes. Running Buddies that are not assigned by the parent or guardian of the girl must submit a background check.

How often do Running Buddies volunteer?

Running Buddies only need to attend the Girls on the Run 5K at the end of the season. They will also have the opportunity to meet their buddy at her practice site before the race for the practice 5k.

How do I become a Running Buddy?

Follow these easy steps to become a Running Buddy this season:

  •        Be available for the Girls on the Run 5K on December 14, 2013.
  •        Click on the link here to submit the form*.
  •        Register for the 5K (when available).

Attend the Girls on the Run 5K. Run, walk or skip with your Girl Buddy!!

Can men be a SoleMate?

Absolutely!  We’re a group of male and female athletes who are trying to raise funding and support for Girls On The Run South Hampton Roads.

When do SoleMates practice?

SoleMates have two group workouts per week with a certified coach.  Locations and times are set by the coach in advance and are located all over Hampton Roads.

How much money do I have to raise?

There are two tiers that SoleMates can choose to raise ($400 or $800). To learn more about the different tiers here.

What does that amount cover?

SoleMates can choose to raise $400 or $800. To learn more about what the different tiers cover click here.

Can I be a Solemate for another event on my own?

You can be a Solemate for any event! We just provide structure and group workouts for specific events. For example, if you are signed up to do the Chicago Marathon or Ironman Switzerland, we will support your fundraising efforts and help promote you. We just don’t pay for those race entries.  Let us know what event you are participating in and we will equip you with either a race shirt or tri top, fundraising kit (thank you cards, donation forms, brochures, etc.), fundraising page and GOTR 5k race entry. All Solemates must raise a $400 minimum.

What’s the next race the SoleMates are training for?

  • TBD

What’s a SoleMate?

SoleMates is the charity running group associated with Girls On The Run.  The group trains for a specific race, like a half marathon or triathlon and raises money for important programs within GOTR.

What is coaching a Girls on the Run team like?

Our program is unique and probably unlike any other program you have volunteered with. However, it might be helpful to know that coaching a group of girls over the 10 weeks is more like leading a Sunday School lesson or Girl Scout troop than coaching a track team. Running is a tool we use to get the girls moving and active, but the lessons are the core of the program.

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