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9 Running Programs That are Making a Difference

girl running

Girls on the Run gets girls running! Credit: stevendepolo

With my upcoming 10k, it seems we might as well keep a running theme going this week! Today, FBG contributor Kelly Turner shares running programs that are making a difference in the lives of kids. 

For most of us, looking back on our childhood running experiences can bring back feelings of dread: P.E. teachers and coaches threatening you with running to perform better, faster, stronger or to just listen to directions. Thus, the thought of running tends to conjure up memories of groans, complaints, eye rolling, walking when the teachers’ back is turned and any inventive excuse to get out of it (cramps were always a personal favorite). Maybe you were lucky enough to fall in love with running later on in your life, or maybe you still can’t get past your past. Either way, don’t let your experience be your daughter’s experience.

Running is not a punishment: it is an exercise in hard work, mental toughness, setting goals, and through achieving those goals, gaining a sense of accomplishment and self worth. Running is a direct example of getting out of something what you put into it. Running is a great way for young girls to earn a sense of pride—in themselves and in the amazing things their bodies can do. Since we can’t rely on school programs and physical education to give young children a healthy foundation, you have to be proactive. There are a lot of wonderful running programs for young girls, and boys too, that meet before or after school to help them develop a love for health, their bodies and themselves, all through developing a love for running.


9 Running Programs that Make a Difference

1. Girls On The Run. Girls On The Run is a national running program for 8- to 13-year-old girls. Girls on the Run is a place for young girls to come together and through open conversation-based lessons and fun running games, gain lasting confidence, friendships and an appreciation for health and fitness that will hopefully last a lifetime. The program is taught by certified Girls on the Run coaches who lead girls through a 24-lesson curriculum split into three main sections: understanding ourselves, valuing relationships and teamwork, and understanding how we connect with and shape the world at large. This program uses running as a tool to build strong, thoughtful, and motivated young women who take care of themselves inside and out. The program concludes with a celebratory 5k, because with Girls on the Run, everyone wins.

2. Girls On Track. A sister program to Girls On The Run, Girls on Track is a non-competitive running program for girls 11 to 13 that meets twice a week to train for the program’s end goal: a 5k. Girls on Track aims to help young girls gain develop life skills through running, activities and games. GOT puts a heavy emphasis on every girl achieving her own personal best not only physically but also emotionally. By participating in Girls on Track, preteens learn to properly manage stress, express themselves and their emotions in a healthy, bond with their peers, and build lasting friendships “rooted in healthy habits.”

3. Morning Mile Program. Based out of Florida, Morning Mile gives kids the opportunity to start their day off right: by running a mile. Every day before school, Morning Milers gather to run and earn pendants for each distance milestone they reach. Motivated by a wonderful system of rewards and fun with music and friends, students come back again and again to log their miles. With more than 300,000 miles run already, this program shows no signs of slowing down. The Morning Mile guidebook makes it simple for any school to easily reproduce and implement the Morning Mile program with success. And good thing, this proven program is often the only physical activity school children get during the day.

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