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.
Join a Team
Fall 2017 Timeline
(Please note that 5k dates are tentative.)
Spring 2018 Timeline
(Please note that 5k dates are tentative.)
Aug 1 | New & Returning Site Applications Due
Aug 21 - Sept 18 | Participant Registration
Sept 20 - Oct 6 | Late Registration
Sept 25 | Fall 2017 Season Begins
Oct 27 | Financial Assistance & Military Documentation Due
Dec 6 - 8 | 5k Packet Pick-Up
Dec 9 - 10 | 5k Weekend, Presented By Cigna
Dec 10 | Season Ends
For a printable version of this schedule, click here.
Jan 15 | New & Returning Site Applications Due
Jan 29 - Feb 26 | Participant Registration
Feb 28 - Mar 9 | Late Registration
Mar 5 | Spring 2018 Season Begins
Apr 26 | Financial Assistance & Military Documentation Due
May 16 - 18 | 5k Packet Pick-Up
May 19 - 20 | 5k Weekend
May 20 | Season Ends
For a printable version of this schedule, click here.
To see the SPRING 2017 CALENDAR, click here.
Check back in August to see a list of confirmed sites for the Fall 2017 season. The sites listed below participated in the past calendar year.
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 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.
If a registrant is injured within the 50% refund window and they are unable to participate in the program, they are eligible for a full refund provided they offer a physician's verification. Prior to agreeing to the refund, however, registrants are encouraged to:
1. defer their registration for the following season, or
2. participate in the program and withhold from doing the physical aspects of the program (still participating in the lessons, cheering, participating in the impact project, etc.)
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
Spring 2017 Dates and Locations:
Saturday, May 13th in Woodbridge at the Pfitzner Stadium
Sunday, May 21st in Ballston
Tentative 5k Dates for Fall 2017:
Saturday, December 9th & Sunday, December 10th, 2017
Tentative 5k Dates for Spring 2018:
Saturday, May 19th & Sunday, May 20th, 2018
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!
The sites below were confirmed for the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 seasons, and may return for the upcoming school year. Check back in August to see an updated list of sites that are confirmed for the Fall 2017 season.
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 or Heart & Sole 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 or Heart & Sole 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/Heart & Sole team activities, our Program Team may schedule a time to come out and visit your proposed Girls on the Run/Heart & Sole program site.
Step 4: Submit a New Site Interest Form
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 new sites! 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 Girls on the Run or Heart & Sole team at your school, church, apartment complex, 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.
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.