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Registration Open for After School Girls Running Program

Girls on the Run NOVA participant (Courtesy of Girls on the Run)

Arlington students can now sign up for an after-school running program that helps build character.

Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia aims to help girls in third through eighth grades become more confident while also preparing them for a 5K run.

Registration is open until Sept. 21 and costs $175 to participate.

There are discounts for military families and families with two or more children participating. There are also discounted fees for girls on the reduced and free meal program at school, said Christine Denny, the program manager for Girls on the Run NOVA.

Girls on the Run NOVA currently has teams at Arlington Science Focus Elementary, Ashlawn Elementary, Barcroft Elementary, Discovery Elementary, Drew Model, Jamestown Elementary, Key Elementary, Long Branch Elementary, McKinley Elementary, Nottingham Elementary, Patrick Henry Elementary, Taylor Elementary, Tuckahoe Elementary and Kenmore Middle Schools.

Girls at other Arlington schools can also start a team at their school.

The 10-week program has a structured curriculum that includes running and student-led activities that help girls build character skills and confidence, Denny said. Coaches are there to help facilitate conversations.

The program is not just about training for the 5K and girls do not run during the entire session.

“The character building is a much more important aspect,” she said.

Programs are broken down by age. “Girls on the Run” is for third through fifth graders, and the girls discuss life events and the challenges facing them, according to the program’s website.

“We start by helping the girls get a better understanding of who they are and what’s important to them. We then look at the importance of teamwork and healthy relationships. And, finally, the girls explore how they can positively connect with and shape the world,” the website said.

For sixth through eighth graders, girls are given the option between “Girls on Track” and “Heart and Sole.” The “Girls on Track” program is a more mature program that discusses issues like cyberbullying, drugs, eating disorders and relationships. “Heart and Sole” breaks the girls down into smaller teams in order to encourage more team bonding, according to the website.

“We’re trying to build a complete girl,” Denny said.

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