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.
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 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 participants and coaches have to be runners?
No! GOTR of Volusia County is for EVERYONE — even those who don’t like to run. The program is non-competitive and focuses on developing healthy, positive self-images in the participants. Girls are encouraged to walk or run the laps during the workouts, and all girls progress at their own speed.
Anyone with a desire to work with girls of this age group, and who enjoys physical exercise are welcome to apply to be a volunteer coach. You just need to be able to cheer on the girls! Please see the coaching requirements for more information.
Can my daughter repeat the program?
Yes, if there is enough space for her at that particular location. New participants are given first priority.
Can my daughter participate at another site if the program is not at her school?
Often we are able to help a girl find an existing team to join if Girls on the Run® is not available at her school. Please contact us for assistance.
Can my home school student participate?
We are happy to place your child at a site if the location allows it and there is space available.
What about a program for boys?
While we know boys need support – just as girls do, the issues boys face are very different than the challenges girls experience. Boys on the Run was piloted in Charlotte, North Carolina, and it was decided not to continue offering this program.