FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT IS GIRLS ON THE RUN?

Girls on the Run of Chester County is a life-changing, non-profit prevention program for girls in the 3rd through 8th grade. Our mission is "to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running." Girls on the Run combines training for a 5K (3.1 miles) running race with healthy living education. Our programs instill self-esteem and strong values through health education, life skills development, mentoring relationships, and physical training, all of which are accomplished through an active collaboration with girls and their parents, schools, volunteers, staff, and the community. Girls on the Run of Chester County is an affiliate council of Girls on the Run International. Girls on the Run is offered in over 173 cities across North America.  Hundreds of Thousands of girls' and women's lives have been changed by this program.

WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF GIRLS ON THE RUN?

We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. We envision a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.

Girls on the Run honor its core values. We strive to:

1. Recognize our power and responsibility to be intentional in our decision making.
2. Embrace our differences and find strength in our connectedness.
3. Express joy, optimism and gratitude through our words, thoughts and actions.
4. Nurture our physical, emotional and spiritual health.
5. Lead with an open heart and assume positive intent.
6. Stand up for ourselves and others.

HOW CAN I BE INVOLVED WITH GIRLS ON THE RUN?

Girls on The Run is run almost exclusively by volunteers. We are always in need of interested parties to volunteer as coaches, volunteer on race day, and to volunteer on committees. If you have any interest please contact Sue Holinsky.

WHAT IS SOLEMATES?

SoleMates are adult men and women who support Girls on the Run programming by raising funds for our organization and completing an event of your choice. As our program participants are charged with a goal of running a 5K at the end of their 10-week session, so we ask our SoleMates to commit their time and energy to accomplish a fitness goal.  Your goal may be a 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon, full marathon, triathlon, bike race, mud run or some other event.

HOW OLD DOES MY DAUGHTER HAVE TO BE TO PARTICIPATE?

Girls that are interested in participating must be in 3rd, 4th or 5th grade. Girls that are interested in Heart & Sole must be in 6th, 7th, or 8th.

WHERE CAN MY DAUGHTER PARTICIPATE?

We offer the program at dozens of schools across Chester County. Running a program at a specific school is dependent on the ability to secure volunteer coaches, and to garner enough interest in the student population to meet minimum participation needs.

HOW DO I REGISTER?

Registration can be done in person at your local YMCA or online on our registration page.

WHAT ARE THE LESSONS LIKE?

The Girls on the Run lessons encourage positive emotional, social, mental and physical development.  Participants explore and discuss their own beliefs around experiences and challenges girls face at this age.  They also develop important strategies and skills to help them navigate life experiences. 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 importance of team work and healthy relationships.  And, finally, the girls explore how they can positively connect with and shape the world.Physical activity is woven into our program to inspire an appreciation of fitness and to build habits that lead to a lifetime of health.  At the end of each three month session, the girls participate in a Girls on the Run 5k event.  This celebratory, non-competitive event is the culminating experience of the curriculum.  

WHY IS THERE A COST?

GOTR is not your typical sports program.  Although, we’ve had questions about the expense, we’ve never had anyone whose daughter has participated say that they didn’t get their money’s worth.  Here’s a glimpse into some of the hard cost items that determine the price of the program. 

  • Curriculum
  • Coach Training & CPR Certification
  • GOTR International Fees
  • Program Scholarships
  • Program Supplies
  • Race Fees
  • Facility Fees
  • 5K Medals
  • Race T-shirt
  • Program T-shirt
  • Water Bottle
  • Practice 5K event supplies
  • Volunteer & Coach Appreciation
  • End of Season Team celebrations

HOW DO I COMMUNICATE WITH MY DAUGHTER’S COACH?

Each team of coaches should have 1 person designated as the “head coach”. This coach should be emailing you once a week with updates, parent connections, and pertinent information about practices, the season, or race day. Additionally, the program will send out emails several times a season to share information about the program and the race. If you are not receiving emails, please check with your daughter’s head coach to see why.

WHAT LEVEL OF COMMUNICATION SHOULD I RECEIVE FROM THE SCHOOL/COACH?

You should receive at least one weekly email from the head coach.

WHY IS THERE A MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM FOR TEAM SIZE?

The minimum participation for a team to run is 8 girls. The lesson and activities that are included in the lesson have the greatest efficacy if they are carried out in larger numbers. GOTR International recommends a minimum of 8 girls to get the most out of the experience. We are required to provide a ratio of 2 coaches for every 15 girls at every practice. We can add participants based on additional coach availability. 15-20 girls; 3 coaches. 20-30 girls; 4 coaches.

WHY DOES MY SCHOOL NOT HAVE THE PROGRAM?

We are completely reliant on volunteer coaches. If we are able to identify 2 coaches for a school site we can run the program at that school.

CAN I PARTICIPATE EVEN IF MY SCHOOL DOES NOT HAVE THE PROGRAM?

Yes. You are welcome to join a team at a nearby school if your school does not offer the program. 

WHY DON’T THE GIRLS DO MORE RUN TRAINING?

Running is used to inspire and motivate girls, encourage lifelong health and fitness, and build confidence through accomplishment. Important social, psychological, and physical skills and abilities are developed and reinforced throughout the program and running is just a part of that.  At each season's conclusion, the girls and their running buddies complete a 5k running event which gives them a tangible sense of achievement as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals. 

IF WE CAN’T FILL A TEAM CAN WE COMBINE WITH THE STRIDE TEAM?

While GOTR and STRIDE share similar program objectives, they are different entities.  GOTR is an international program that the YMCA of Greater Brandywine delivers based on a license purchased from GOTR International (GOTRI).  GOTRI has set guidelines for program delivery which include delivering the program exclusively to girls.   STRIDE is created & owned by the YMCA of Greater Brandywine and also has similar guidelines about program delivery and is designed exclusively for boys.  GOTR & STRIDE, while complimentary, each have their own curriculum and are gender specific and are not designed to be delivered interchangeably.  

IS THERE FINANCIAL AID AVAILABLE?

Financial aid is available. Please contact your local YMCA for more information. Is there a sibling discount? The YMCA offers a 5% sibling discount. Please request upon registration. 

WHAT IS A RUNNING BUDDY AND WHY DO GIRLS NEED ONE?

A running buddy is family member, relative or friend over the age of 15 who runs with the Girls on the Run or Heart & Sole participant in the 5K. The Running Buddy stays with the participant for the entire event. They provide encouragement and support for the participant throughout the race. Having someone to run with really makes it a fun experience for the participants and Running Buddies. The Running Buddy also helps us ensure safety on the course.

DOES THE RUNNING BUDDY HAVE TO PAY FOR THE RACE?

Yes. The running buddy is required to register for the race. The cost is $25. This coast includes: race shirt, timing bibs, post-race refreshments, and additional comfort and safety amenities. 

WHY ARE THE BOYS SEPARATED FROM THE GIRLS AT THE RACE?

Although the Girls on The Run and STRIDE programs are run similarly and concurrently, they are two completely different entities. We are excited to share the day with all of the respective participants, but we also appreciate that both programs should have their OWN event and all that comes with that experience.

CAN THE RACE PARTICIPANTS BE SEPARATED INTO WAVES BASED ON PACE?

We separate the participants for one reason, and that is to try and alleviate congestion on the course. It is important to note, this is a non-competitive celebratory event.