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Sammy Carr

Sammy Carr

More Than One Reason to Celebrate

Girls on the Run participants and Buddy Runners starting the 5K and running under an inflatable arch.

One weekend, two 5K events, 150+ volunteers, 300+ Coaches, 3,600+ 5K participants, and countless memories made. Continue reading to learn what made this celebratory weekend truly special!

Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia hosted two Fall 2022 5K events this season:

  • Saturday, November 19, at Dulles Town Center
  • Sunday, November 20, in Ballston.

Girls on the Run (elementary school) and Heart & Sole (middle school) participants from 87 teams participated at one of the two 5K events to celebrate the completion of the 10-week program.




Crossing the finish line instills confidence and a sense of accomplishment, proving to every finisher that they can do anything they set their mind to. 

A Fall 2022 Coach shared a touching story that brings the GOTR NOVA vision to life. 

We had a young girl (3rd grade) who was new to the school and new to running this season. She also has some learning disabilities and social anxiety that made it difficult for her to express her feelings and easily engage in large, social settings.

At most of our practices, she was reserved and hesitant to set goals for herself because she was too scared she wouldn't meet them. But, all of the girls in our program rallied around her to help cheer her on and would walk or run with her when they saw she was expressing signs of self-doubt.

Thanks to the community, empowerment, and star power focus of the program, this young girl went from only doing a few laps in the first few weeks to completing 2.5 miles in the time we blocked off for our practice 5K.

She completed the actual 5K and when she got her medal she hugged it close and kept exclaiming how proud she was of herself and that she "did it!" and gave each of us (her coaches) a hug to thank us for helping her make a great memory.


In addition to celebrating these accomplishments, four exceptional individuals were recognized before the start of the 5K at Dulles Town Center and presented with a bright pink cape that portrays their Super Star Coach and Buddy Runner power. 

First, three veteran coaches celebrated 20+ seasons with GOTR NOVA! (See pictured below)

  • Cherrie Layton - 21 Seasons (not pictured)
  • Carla Maughlin - 22 Seasons (pictured on the left)
  • Debbie Shoop - 23 Seasons (pictured on the right)


A very special Buddy Runner was also celebrated… Lynn Blackstone, who was one of six women who changed history for women athletes on October 1, 1972 at the New York City Marathon. 

Here, Lynn Blackstone stands with her niece, Dana Hoekstra, and GOTR participant, Violet, following the caping ceremony.

Lynn’s steadfast commitment to gender equality is inspiring. Her actions mirror the resiliency and leadership Girls on the Run strives to instill in every participant. Empowering them to stand up for themselves and what they believe in.


This was a spectacular weekend thanks to all of the volunteers, staff, supporters, and participants present! While the GOTR NOVA staff bask in the memories of these events and the past season, they are eagerly looking forward to the Spring 2023 season. 

Registration for the Spring 2023 season will be open from February 6th through the 28th and the season will begin on March 6th. Consider joining us as a participant, volunteer, or supporter!

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We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. Non-profit girl empowerment after-school program for girls.

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