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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.

What is Girls on the Run?

Girls on the Run is an after school program that uses the power of running to help prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living. Through interactive activities such as running and playing games to discuss important issues, participants learn how to celebrate being girls. The girls also train together to walk or run in a 5K (3.1 mile) event.

How many girls do you serve annually?

Over 250 girls from various parts of the island of O’ahu participate in Girls on the Run or Heart & Sole.  We are looking to expand to the outer islands in the near future.

When does the program start?

Programs are offered twice a year in the fall and spring. Fall programs begin in September, following the start of school and conclude in late November. Our Spring program begins in February and ends in late April.

How often does the program meet?

Teams meet twice a week just before or just after school, over the course of 10 weeks. The program does not meet on days that schools are not in session or on early release days.

How long is each session?

The sessions are approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes long.

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, a group cheer and a snack.

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 initiates healthy decision-making about difficult issues and really talking to their 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 trained female coaches that volunteer their time to guide and mentor girls through a fun and uplifting program. Coaches are trained in the GOTR curriculum, undergo a background check, and are CPR certified.

Do girls have to be runners?

No! Girls on the Run of Hawaii 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.

Do coaches have to be runners?

No! Anyone with a desire to work with girls of this age group, and enjoys physical exercise is welcome to apply to be a volunteer coach    

How do I sign up and register a participant?

Check the dates for the open enrollment period in the registration section on our website. Open enrollment lasts for three weeks and is not first come first serve, so 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, any programs that had more than GOTR Hawaii’s maximum of 20 girls for Girls on the Run and 15 for Heart & Sole sign up are run through an automated lottery, 20 names for Girls on the Run and 15 for Heart & Sole are selected.

Why are programs limited?

Our programs are most effective with 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.

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.

Can I register my girl at a site if she doesn't attend school there?

Please contact council director Liz Dietrich at if you would like to register a girl at a site at which she does not currently attend school.  Some sites allow girls from other schools to join their GOTR group, while some prefer to include only girls who attend that school.  Liz can help you navigate this.

What does the program fee include?

The program fee for participation on a Girls on the Run Hawaii team is $125 for the 10-week season.

Our direct program costs include items given to every girl and team and include the following:

  • 20 curriculum based lessons delivered twice a week by GOTR trained coaches
  • Program t-shirt and water bottle
  • A healthy snack at the end of each practice
  • 5K entry fee, race bib and finisher medal
  • Copies of our curriculum and activity sheets for every team
  • A box of all supplies for every team - markers, posterboard, lap counters, cones, etc.

The program fee also covers council fees such as liability insurance, background checks for all coaches, website fees, 5K expenses, and our annual GOTR International membership fee, which allows us to operate as a council.

We never turn a girl away if her family is unable to pay the program fee.  Parents can apply for a scholarship when they register their girl.

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