The Finish Line is Just the Beginning

By Alison Ahrens

Girls on the Run inspires ALL girls to build confidence and make intentional decisions, while fostering care and compassion for herself and others. Trained coaches use physical activity and dynamic discussions to build social, emotional, and physical skills in every girl while encouraging healthy habits for life.

Girls face social pressures and conflicting messages about how they should act and who they should be. Studies show that by adolescence, a girls confidence drops about twice as much as boys. Stressors related to COVID-19 have undoubtedly affected girls in ways we cannot even know. Between social isolation, anxiety, and more limited opportunities for physical activity they have a lot to deal with these days.

Focused on grades 3rd-8th, the Girls on the Run (GOTR) program runs for 8-weeks in the fall and 8-weeks in the spring with a one-week Camp GOTR option during summer, fall, spring, and winter breaks. Girls learn to build confidence, character, care, connections, competence, and contribution, skills that they take with them through their childhood and into adulthood. They successfully learn to navigate life challenges and face the world head on becoming stronger than ever.

The program also includes an end-of-season 5K. It is the culmination of Girls on the Run (3rd-5th grades) and Heart & Sole (6th-8th grades) from Alexander, Forsyth, Iredell, and Rowan counties. It is another way to inspire the girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident. This non-competitive, unchipped, family-friendly event is open to the community and celebrates the limitless potential of hundreds of local girls who will cross the finish line along with their running buddy.

The GOTR 5K is an essential component of the program, as it is an experiential opportunity for girls to learn and embrace the confidence that comes from accomplishment. It is also a fundraising and brand awareness opportunity for the Girls on the Run Greater Piedmont Council connecting the girls back to the community.

All girls are required to have a running buddy, whether paired with a coach, community member, family member, etc., that runs next to them, encourages them not to give up, and helps them cross the finish line with CONFIDENCE. Run, walk, skip, hop, or jump, whichever way is for you, finishing means; YOU CAN DO IT. It is the power, energy, and limitless potential the girl feels crossing the finish line after emotions of wanting to give up. The feeling when she challenges herself to push harder and not to stop. No girl is left behind thanks to the support of running buddies and teammates. After completing the 5K, passing through the cheering crowds, and receiving their medal and certificate, girls experience the reward of knowing they can do it mentally and physically.

Community organizations can partner for the event through sponsorships, hosting water stations, hosting cheer stations through-out the course, donating spirit on the course signs that encourage the girls while they run, set-up a table in our meet and greet village, or join in on the girl’s annual on-site activity of the giving tree, decorating their race bibs or working the happy hair temporary hair dye station (always the most popular table!)

All proceeds benefit supporting program advancement of our Girls on the Run program and ensures that every girl has an equal opportunity to participate regardless of financial limitations and/or other barriers.

The Girls on the Run of the Greater Piedmont 5K will be held on Sunday, November 14 at Salisbury Community Park in Salisbury. (935 Hurley School Road, Salisbury, NC)

Arrival Time: 1pm
Community Runners: 1:30pm
Fun Run: 1:45pm
5K Start Time: 2pm

Community runners wanting to run in support of Girls on the Run or join as a running buddy can sign up at Donations can be made online at If you are interested in helping out with the event, you can register online at

Thank you to our sponsors: Rack Room Shoes, Novant Health – Rowan, Academy Sports + Outdoors, SAKS Orthodontics, Carolina Crossroads Dental Care, Kernersville Magazine, and our community supporters: Salisbury Parks and Recreation and Salisbury Rowan Runners.

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