Oregon State University logo


Girls on the Run has received generous support from the OSU Women's Giving Circle

Girls on the Run has received generous support from the OSU Women's Giving Circle

“Remember, you’re going to go at your pace. This is your run,” announced Amy Lee as 75 girls and their “sole mates” eagerly cued up at the start line of the 5K walk/run. Sixth grader Sabrina Simpson was among them, with her volunteer running buddy Shirley Shaw. “She’s a really good runner, but she went at my pace and encouraged me,” recalls Sabrina. “She kept saying ‘You can do it! You can do it!’ and I did!” Shirley says, “It’s fun to pass on my love of running to Sabrina. It’s great to see that much energy, enthusiasm, and dedication starting early with the girls.”

The event was the culmination of the 10-week Girls on the Run, a twice a week after-school program for third through eighth grade girls that uses the power of running to help prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living. “It’s designed to empower them with greater self-awareness, a sense of achievement, and the foundation to become strong, contented, and self-confident young women who can make healthy choices about their behaviors,” explains Amy ’06, assistant director of the program. Girls on the Run is a new addition to the college’s well-known KidSpirit program. Each practice has a different lesson — healthy body image, self-esteem, nutrition, teamwork, community service, being thankful.

“I learned how to be a good friend and how to make choices like not drinking or smoking,” says Sabrina. “It was really fun getting to know girls from different schools… we became friends.” An added benefit for Sabrina was the physical training that improved her stamina on the soccer field. She is one of 105 local third to eighth graders who have participated in Girls on the Run since it began in March.

Girls on the Run International was designed by Molly Barker, a mother of two who coined the phrase “Girl Box” — that space where even confident girls start thinking they don’t measure up and begin to value their outward appearance more than their character. This often causes low self-esteem and a distorted body image that can lead to eating disorders, substance abuse, and teen pregnancy. Girls in the program use this expression to remind their friends to “Get out of the Girl Box!”

To learn more about Girls on the Run Willamette Valley, visit kidspirit.oregonstate.edu/GOTR
To learn more about the Girls on the Run International, visit www.girlsontherun.org