For My Girls on the Run Family

I started Girls on the Run in 1996 to provide an experience for girls to untangle from the stereotypes which far too frequently capture their spirits around middle school.  I founded the program in Charlotte, NC in 1996 with 13 girls.   It’s hard for me to believe that the program has reached almost two million girls!

Dayton event

The 10-week curriculum-based program creatively weaves running games together with activities designed to, in a fun and engaging format, provide 3rd to 8th grade girls with the tools to live their lives with intention…to journey through life with their feet firmly grounded in self-respect, community support and  love; and.their hearts filled to overflowing with joyful passion and a child-like curiosity to reach high, dream big and achieve their greatest potential.

Dayton directors

I’ve retired from the organization. This means I now travel, ten or more times a year, and visit with those “out in the field” delivering the program. If you are interested in bringing me to your Girls on the Run event, please email me at

Let’s do this. 💙💙💙


To learn more (and hopefully get involved) check out

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28 thoughts on “For My Girls on the Run Family

  1. I’m really glad i joined GOTR. I probably would have gone insane if i hadn’t (and i wouldnt have if it hadnt been involved in running). at first, i just joined because i thought it would be a way to participate in track in 6th grade (in my middle school, only 7th and 8th graders can paricipate in a sport). well, eveything was so crazy for me that year, everything was changing; my friends started to ignore me because i didnt have the latest clothes and didnt wear makeup, i eventually made new friends but they eventually changed so that i didnt want to be around them (they thought it was funny to make everything sound wrong, but that was way after i joined GOTR). Everything around me was changing so fast, my friends, my schedule, myself, it was just too much for me. Everyone around me was trying to look cooler and skinnier and it make me feel left out and like i wasnt good enough. That was also the year that my regular classes became AIG instead of me going to a different class than everyone else and everything school wise beacme a lot harder which made me think i wasnt smart enough too. At first, GOTR didnt really change me. I was still depressed and negative, GOTR began to motivate me to be myself and now instead of the shy, sensitive girl who cares too much what people think, i am now myself 99.99% of the time (compared to most people my age im still kinda quiet but im only trying to respect the teachers, which most people my age dont do ) and dont get as nervous when i have to talk infront of the class. I carry myself with pride no matter how tacky my clothes are or how “last year” my shoes are. So i’d like to say thank you Molly Barker, and thank you to all who helped GOTR make it this far, i might not have survived 6th grade if you hadnt.
    So Thank You,
    Emily Laye

    1. Hey Emily…won’t you visit here again? I know that I can speak for everyone who visits this blog (especially the adults) that your courage to write out all that’s going on in your head (and in your school)…and to see those negative voices as what they are…just voices…well, the truth is, girl…you can teach us a thing or two.

      I’m so grateful for your presence in this world! Rock on!

  2. Hello Molly,
    I just want to say that I find your words to be inspiring and what you’re doing with GOTR is phenomenal. Your genuine passion for the girls and your program is very evident, and I see pieces of that in me. I’m currently trying to start up my own after-school girls’ fitness program, and I figured who better to get advice from then the person who has been around the block (literally- quite a few times, I’m sure).

    Any words of wisdom or resources that you are willing to share would be greatly appreciated.

    From one girl with a vision to another.



    1. GOTR is such a insperation to me. It helps me express myself, plug in a positive cord and be positive, to run a 5k, and just be a girl!

      Your Fan,


  3. Hi Molly!,
    I absolutely LOVE GOTR! It helps me with my daily life!
    I just wanted to say thanks!,

  4. Hi Molly!
    GOTR is such an incredible program. Congrats on all you’ve done. Is there appetite to expand more in Canada?

  5. Hi Molly-

    I’m a GOTR coach. I was a coach in NC for 2 seasons and moved to FL and am now on my 3 season here. I love the program! I love what it does for girls!

    I wanted to share a story. One special girl was in my 5th grade class last year. She is spunky, athletic, funny and smart. She did both seasons and not only found herself and stayed true to who she is, but she also fell in love with running.

    At the end of the year last year we did a biography project on someone who had an influence on each student’s life. She chose you. In her report she shared how you overcame challenges and how that was something she admired, how you made positive choices and how she knew that she could to, how you set goals and how she already had goals in mind that she wanted to reach.

    She gained so many things from the program and just one of those things is the love of running. She loves running so much that she has completed several 5ks and also a 10k and was training for a half-marathon as a sixth grader. No words can express how proud I am of her.

    Unfortunately, this past Saturday when she was working on her 13th mile she was hit by a car. She is now in a medically induced coma trying to recover from a brain injury. My heart is broken for her and I feel helpless. I just wanted to share her story, not for the sadness but for the strength of the GOTR community. Any positive thoughts that you can send her would be so appreciative because you are a role model for her and you have influenced and impacted her life for the better.

    Thanks for reading!

  6. in girls on the run i have learned to not gossip, and tell myself i can do the most impossible things. Moll, for this, you are my idol. i hope i can be a girls on the run coach like you on day. thank you for making a program like this.

  7. GOTR has really helped my daughter come out of her shell. She is in 4th grade and already shows the worries and despair that middle school can bring to a child. She thinks in her mind that everyone is making fun of her, talking about her, etc. She tries to blend into the walls at school so she isn’t seen. When the spring session of GOTR started, she sat in the corner and wouldn’t speak during the first 5 or 6 lessons. But after that she started to come out of her shell and participate in the lessons and scream the “GOTR is so much fun.” She laughs and has a good time like she does at home with her family. Our group just ran a practice 5K on Monday and my girl stayed at the front of the pack with 5 other girls the whole run. The set a pace and a chant and went for it. It was awesome. I can’t wait until our 5K. I wish that this went through the summer. I know she needs more of this.

    Thank you so much for starting this program. I wish I had it as a tween.

    Tara Corwine
    High Country GOTR mommy

  8. Molly, what you do is so meaningful! I feel so grateful that we’ve been able to bring your program to my school! As a teacher, I’m able to connect with my girls on a deeper level. You are visiting my school this Wednesday! I can’t wait to thank you in person!

  9. I was a GOTR coach for one season a few years back and am trying to start a program where I live currently in Hutchinson, MN. My daughter was in the program when I coached and still talks about it at age 15. I was able to find ‘myself’ through running and hope to inspire other girls and women of all ages to do the same. Molly-Thank you for developing such a great program and for being such an inspiration to others. I hope it works out to bring GOTR to my community. I would love to coach again for a program I am passionate about!

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