Educating and Preparing Girls for a Lifetime of Self-respect and Healthy Living



Molly Barker established Girls on the Run® in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1996. A four-time Hawaii Ironman tri-athlete, Molly holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A former high school teacher and track coach, Molly has also worked as a counselor addressing the needs of women with eating disorders, alcohol and substance additions and depression.

The Girls on the Run curricula, the heart of the program, provides pre-adolescent girls with the necessary tools to embrace their individual strengths as they enter middle and high school. Written by Molly and Dori Luke, L.C.S.W., it is based upon research in the fields of adolescent issues. The earliest version of the 24 lesson curriculum was piloted in 1996 with the help of 13 brave girls. Twenty-six girls came the next season, then 75. IN 2000, Girls on the Run International, a 501 (c) (3) organization was born.

Today, there are Girls on the Run programs in over 150 cities across North America, with tens of thousands of girls and women participating. In 2008, Girls on the Run hosted 100 end-of-season 5K events across the United States and Canada. Girls on the Run has been featured in many media outlets including People, Runner's World, Redbook, Women's Day, O Magazine, Fitness Magazine, Self Magazine, Glamour, Running Times, CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, NBC News, NPR, ESPN and Forbes. Molly is an Ashoka fellow and also the recipient of several prestigious national awards including Redbook magazine's "Strength and Spirit Award" which recognizes individuals who are building a better future for all of us, the "Women's Day Award" from Women's Day magazine which salutes individuals who have used their vision and heart to help fix pressing problems and the "Heroes of Running award" from Runner's World magazine. Corporate sponsors for Girls on the Run International include New Balance Athletic Shoe and Apparel Company, Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, Secret deodorant, Goody hair products and Horizon Fitness.

The true success of the program is told in the worlds of its past and present participants. "I used to be shy, but now I'm not anymore." "I know that whatever I set my mind to do, I can do." "Girls on the Run helps me feel awesome about myself."

That is success.