Girls on the Run
Over a period of 10-12 weeks, girls in 3rd through 5th grade participate in lessons that encourage positive emotional, social, mental and physical development. Participants explore and discuss their own beliefs around experiences and challenges girls face at this age. The girls also develop important strategies and skills to help navigate their life experiences. We start by helping the girls get a better understanding of who they are and what's important to them. We then look at the importance of teamwork and healthy relationships. And, finally, the girls explore how they can positively connect with and shape the world.
Heart & Sole
Heart and Sole is a 10-week program for grades 6th-8th with a smaller team size – 8-15 girls so that girls are given an opportunity to build relationships with their coaches and with one another.
The Heart & Sole curriculum was developed by Girls on the Run International to meet the unique needs of middle school girls by focusing on the whole girl. The curriculum is designed with themes girls can relate to and helps build the life skills girls need. Heart & Sole is accessible to all girls regardless of athletic ability or fitness level and considers the age range and varied experience of middle schoolers.
Looking to register for the Spring 2017 Program?
Read the most recent parent update. Para una traducción al español de este correo electrónico, haga clic aquí.
“GOTR has exceeded my expectations.
I've seen my daughter's confidence grow so much.
She's really brought herself to the activities and has been very involved.
I couldn't be happier nor more proud of her.
Thank you for providing such a great opportunity."
- GOTR NOVA Parent
Join a Team
Fall 2016 Timeline
Spring 2017 Timeline
Aug 1 | New Site Applications Due
Aug 22 - Sept 19 | Participant Registration
Sept 21 - Oct 7 | Late Registration
Sept 26 | Season Begins
Oct 27 | Financial Assistance & Military Documentation Due
Nov 16 - 18 | 5K Packet Pick-Up
Nov 19 - 20 | 5K Weekend, Presented By Cigna
Dec 9 | Season Ends
For a printable version of this schedule, click here.
*extended* Jan 23 | New & Returning Site Applications Due
Jan. 30 - Feb. 27 | Participant Registration
Mar. 1 - Mar. 10 | Late Registration
Mar. 6 | Season Begins
Apr. 25 | Financial Assistance & Military Documentation Due
May 20-21 | 5K Weekend, Presented By Cigna**
(**5K dates are tentative.**)
May 21 | Season Ends
For a printable version of this schedule, click here.
A parent/guardian must complete the online registration form for each girl.
Once you've completed the registration process, you will receive an email confirming that your application has been received. Please check that you've received an email following your registration.
After open registration closes, all registered participants will receive follow-up emails notifying them of their status.
Girls whose schools are oversubscribed (20+ girls per program for Girls on the Run and 15+ girls per program for Heart & Sole) will be automatically entered into a random lottery. Once the lottery is completed, parents will be notified whether their daughter has been added to the team, or not. Girls that were not selected during the lottery will be place on a wait list until the close of the second week of the season.
Late Registration: For teams that are not filled (<20 girls for Girls on the Run and <15 for Girls on Track and Heart & Sole), registration will remain open with a $25 late registration fee until the end of the second week of the season. During late registration remaining spots are filled on come first serve basis. If a girl drops from a team that was over subscribed, all girls on the wait list will be entered into a second random lottery to fill that slot.
Girls the Run of Northern Virginia will refund 50% of the registration fee if requested in writing prior to the 4th lesson of a Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia program. No refunds will be issued for any cancellations after the 4th lesson, except in the event that an unforeseen illness or health issue arises after the 4th lesson. If a site is canceled due to insufficient registration or other circumstances deemed appropriate by the Executive Director, the full registration fee will be refunded.
Refund Dates for Fall 2016 Season:
Full refund (minus $6 processing fee) - through September 22, 2016
50% refund (minus $6 processing fee) - September 23 - October 6, 2016
Form and Waivers
Health history forms, liability and photo waivers must be completed online in order to register for the program.
Standard Program Fee | $175
Coach Daughter | $110
Active & Retired Military | $150
Sibling | $150
Financial Aid Options:
Reduced School Lunch | $75
Free School Lunch | $22
Expected Spring 2017 Dates and Locations:
Saturday, May 20th in Woodbridge at the Pfitzner Stadium**
Sunday, May 21st in Ballston**
**Dates and location are tentative at this time.
Start a Team
Step 1: See if there is already a team
Check below to see which locations have already confirmed for the upcoming season. There may already be a team at your school or in your community!
Step 2: Tell Us You’re Interested!
Email our team to let us know you'd like to start a team. Please include the name and location of the school, community center, church, or meeting place where you want to start a Girls on the Run Team, and the best way to contact you.
Step 3: Connect with Our Program Team
Once we receive your request, a member of our Program Team will follow up with you by phone or email.
The Program Team will answer any questions you have, and help guide you through the next steps for starting Girls on the Run at your school, community center, or other meeting place.
If there are questions about whether your available space is suitable for running and other Girls on the Run team activities, our Program Team may schedule a time to come out and visit your proposed Girls on the Run program site.
Step 4: Submit a New Site Application
After your application is approved, our Program Team will assist you throughout the season with everything from coach recruitment and training to the end-of-season 5K.
That’s it. Need help along the way? No worries. Your Girls on the Run Program Team is always just a phone call or email away!
We are always accepting site applications! New Site Applications must be received by January 15th for Spring teams, and/or by August 1st for Fall teams.
New Site Info Packet
See our New Site Information Packet for all the details about starting a GOTR team at your school or community center.
Toolkit for Title 1 Schools
Is your proposed Girls on the Run site a School-Wide or Targeted Assistance Title I school?
Download our Title 1 Toolkit for more information on scholarships, fundraising, grants, and our Title 1 Companion Guide.
What is Girls on the Run and Heart & Sole?
Girls on the Run and Heart & Sole are youth development programs for elementary and middle school girls that combine a 20-lesson curriculum addressing the psychological, sociological and physiological aspects of physical activity with training for a 5K run. Teams meet twice a week, before or after school for 10 weeks.
Over the course of the program, girls will develop and improve competence, feel confidence in who they are, develop strength of character, respond to others and oneself with care and compassion, create positive connections with peers and adults, and make a meaningful contribution to community and society.
What type of organization is Girls on the Run of NOVA?
GOTR NOVA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that specializes in PA-PYD (physical activity positive youth development) programming.
How many girls does GOTR NOVA serve annually?
Approximately 5,000 girls from 8 counties and cities throughout Northern Virginia participate in Girls on the Run or Heart & Sole each year.
Where does GOTR NOVA programming take place?
Girls on the Run of NOVA currently serves approximately 200 public schools, private schools, and community centers across Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties, as well as Alexandria City, Falls Church City, Manassas City and Manassas Park public school systems.
Whom does GOTR NOVA serve?
Girls on the Run serves girls in grades 3-5. Heart & Sole serves girls in grades 6-8.
When does programming start?
Programs are offered twice a year in the fall and in the spring. Fall programs begin in September, following the start of the school year, and conclude in early December. Our Spring programs begin in March and end in mid-May.
How often does the program meet?
Teams meet twice a week just before or just after school, over the course of 10 weeks. The school-based programs do not meet on days that schools are not in session or on early release days.
How long is each session?
A Girls on the Run practices lasts between 60-75 minutes, and a Heart & Sole practice lasts between 75-90 minutes.
Can you describe a typical session?
Each session focuses on a specific issue-related topic which is incorporated into the activities and games planned for the lesson. The coaches begin the lesson by introducing and explaining the day's topic. The girls then warm up their muscles with a brief interactive running activity or game. Then, the girls stretch and further discuss how the activity related to the topic. Next, the girls perform the workout, which primarily consists of running laps but also integrates the topic of the day. For example, the girls may have to answer questions about the day's topic each time they complete a lap. The lesson ends with stretching, reviewing what the girls learned that day, and a group cheer.
Why the young age?
Studies show that girls between the ages of eight and fourteen are still receptive to adult influence, while beginning to feel peer pressure. It's an age psychologists call the latency period of development when girls begin to confront important life and relationship issues. As a prevention program, Girls on the Run and Heart & Sole initiate healthy decision-making about difficult issues and talking to parents/caretakers before it's too late. In addition, learning healthy exercise habits early in life increases the chances that participants will value their own physical fitness as adults. Recent studies show that only those who develop exercise habits in their teen years or earlier are likely to maintain those habits for life. It's well documented that regular, moderate exercise improves cardiovascular functioning, and reduces the risk of developing breast cancer, osteoporosis (brittle bones), and obesity. In addition, girls of this age are more open to the positive peer influences, positive adult role models and the confidence enhancing which are all parts of the GOTR experience.
Is there research on effects of Girls on the Run and Heart & Sole?
Yes! You can learn more about the psycho-social effects of the GOTR curriculum on the girls in our program here.
Who delivers the program?
Each session is led by a trained female head coach plus two assistant coaches that volunteer their time to guide and mentor girls through a fun and uplifting program. Coaches are trained in the Girls on the Run and and/or Heart & Sole curriculums, undergo a background check, and are CPR certified.
Do girls have to be runners?
No! Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia is for EVERYONE - even those who don't like to run. The program is non-competitive and focuses on helping participants develop healthy, positive self-images. Girls are encouraged to walk or run the laps during the workouts, and all girls progress at their own speed.
Do coaches have to be runners?
No! Anyone with a desire to work with girls of this age group and who enjoys physical exercise is welcome to apply to be a volunteer coach. See the Coach job description on our volunteer page and complete the Volunteer Interest Form.
What does the program cost?
The current program fee in $175. Each season, Girls on the Run of NOVA offers financial assistance to qualifying families including: free & reduced school lunch participants, daughters of our volunteer coaches, siblings, and active & retired military. Last year, Girls on the Run of NOVA provided over $155,000 in financial aid. Financial assistance is available for those qualified registrants who can demonstrate eligibility based on financial need.
What does the program fee include?
The program fee includes the following items. You must provide your own transportation to and from the sessions and the 5K running event.
- 20-lesson program conducted by certified GOTR coaches
- Materials used by the coaches over the course of the program
- Entry into the end-of-season 5K running event
- Race bib and timing chip
- Official GOTR T-shirt
- 5K Medal
- Comprehensive insurance
How do I sign up and register a participant?
Check the dates for the Open Enrollment period in the Season Timeline above. Open enrollment lasts for four weeks and is not first come, first serve. There is no need to register as soon as the enrollment period opens; there is ample time for all interested parties to sign up.
Once open enrollment ends, sites that had more than the maximum number of girls register are entered into an automated lottery. For Girls on the Run teams, 20 girls are randomly selected. For Heart & Sole teams, 15 girls are selected at random.
Parents of girls selected via the lottery are notified by email that their daughter’s registration is confirmed, and their program registration fee is automatically processed.
Also at this time, GOTR NOVA opens an Add/Drop period for sites that went through the lottery. If a girl drops from a team, all girls who originally registered for that team will be entered into a second random lottery to fill that open slot.
There is a Late Registration period for sites that have not yet filled to the maximum number by the start of the season. For these sites, registration will remain open with a $25 late registration fee.
Why are programs limited?
Our programs are most effective with teams of 15 to 20 girls since much of the GOTR curriculum is designed to foster team dynamics and active participation in the lessons. We also need to ensure the size of the group is manageable for our coaches. Sites that have more than the maximum number of girls who want to join the program may consider multiple programs if space and resources allow.
For programs where registration went over capacity and entered a lottery, this week represents an add/drop period where if a girl drops from that program, all girls who originally registered will be entered into a second random lottery to fill that slot. For programs that are not filled (<20 girls for Girls on the Run and <15 girls for Heart & Sole), registration will remain open with a $25 late registration fee.
How do I start a Girls on the Run or Heart & Sole Team?
If there is no Girls on the Run or Heart & Sole team at your school or nearby, you can start one. Each team requires a minimum of 8 participants per site and is limited to a maximum of 20 for Girls on the Run and 15 for Heart & Sole. A site is usually a school, but can also be a community center or other location with facilities suitable for a running program. For more information, see our Start a Team section.
Is it safe for 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 adaptation 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, " says Russell R. Pate, Ph.D., with the Department of Exercise Science at the University of South Carolina. The girls are not pressured to run; rather, they are encouraged to run or walk according to their current level of fitness with emphasis on improving endurance and form.
How can I help besides coaching?
There are many ways you can help support Girls on the Run of NOVA. Visit our Volunteer page for a list of volunteer opportunities throughout the year. We are also seeking individuals and companies to sponsor girls with financial need as well as sponsors for our bi-annual 5ks and other events. Visit our Partners page for more details. Please consider making an online donation to support the Girls on the Run of NOVA mission, or fundraising for Girls on the Run of NOVA - we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit and donations are tax-deductible for U.S. Residents.