Girls on the Run


TAMPA, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — A national program for girls is changing the lives of thousands. They’re running like they’ve never run before, while learning steps to succeed on and off the track.

She was bullied for years. Her mom just died. Alyssa Wheeler could have run away from it all. But then she stumbled upon this: girls on the run.

“It helped me understand my confidence in myself so I could be more powerful.” Wheeler shared.

The after-school program started 21 years ago in North Carolina. Now, with 200,000 girls in all 50 states, they’re learning a lot more than just how to run a 5-K.

Kathleen Bohrnsen, the coach for Girls on the Run said “We teach them that they can choose to be grateful, we teach them how to be self-advocates so they learn how to advocate for themselves.”

Her mom’s sudden death left Wheeler without a running buddy until her grandmother stepped up.

Jill Maine, Alyssa Wheeler’s Grandmother told Ivanhoe, “It’s a lot, because I’m still grieving. It’s only eight months out and it’s still a little raw. But the fact that this young lady, my granddaughter, is so involved with girls on the run and it’s done so much for her and I’m sure that it will do something for me too.”

With the ten-week training course over, the 5-K is here. Wheeler and her grandmother both made it to the finish line!

Wheeler said, “What I thought when I came through the finish line, man, mom is going to be so proud of me.”

“It was well worth it seeing her and I come through that finish line for my daughter. If she were here, she would have been in this race. It wouldn’t have been me. But I know she’s watching I know she’s proud.” Maine said.

And that’s why making it thru this finish line is just what they needed for a fresh start.

Girls on the Run costs anywhere from ten to 100 dollars for a ten-week program. Last year, 46 percent of participants received scholarships. A total of one-point-four million girls have participated in girls on the run thanks to a woman named molly barker who founded the organization.  For more information, go to

Some more interesting facts about Girls on the Run:

  • From three councils in 1998 to over 220 councils in 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2016
  • From 200 participants in 1998 to 200,000 in 2016
  • In 2016, 104,000 volunteers helped deliver the program
  • More than 335 Girls on the Run 5K events with more than 619,000 participants in 2016, making it the largest 5K series in the world
  • More than 8,000 SoleMates have raised nearly $5 million for Girls on the Run councils so far through the Girls on the Run charity running program
  • Councils generated more than $35 million in revenue nationwide in FY2015

Contributors to this news report include: Emily Maza Gleason, Producer; Travis Bell, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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