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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 29, 2008

Girls on the Run develops self-respect, healthy living

University of Iowa Recreational Services is a sponsor of Girls on the Run Johnson County, which helps girls use the power of running to help develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through physical activity.

Girls on the Run (GOTR) is a national non-profit program for girls in third through sixth grade that combines training for a 5K running event with self-esteem enhancing, uplifting workouts. The goals of GOTR are to encourage positiv emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development, and to promote an environment that allows girls to reach their full potential.

Johnson County GOTR's yearly 5K run/walk is set for 10 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 22 at the University of Iowa Ashton Cross-Country Course.

"We have a really fun 5K event at the end of each season, and registration is open to the public. Most people who run the 5K are surprised at how exciting and fulfilling it was to watch almost 100 young girls cross the finish line and accomplish this major goal," said Phoebe Trepp, program assistant for Girls on the Run Johnson County.

GOTR was founded in 1994 by tri-athlete Molly Barker, using her expertise in counseling and teaching along with research on adolescent issues to create the lessons. There are GOTR programs in over 150 cities across North America. Currently, Johnson County GOTR offers after-school programs at seven local elementary schools.  The fall session is underway, and registration will be available soon for the spring session.

Girls on the Run, is in its third fall season and is currently seeking volunteer coaches, running buddies, event planners and donors to continue to empower girls and strengthen the community.

"Our volunteers and council directors come from all walks of life, and they all give up their time to pursue this dream of a better future for girls and our community," said Trepp.

By increasing girls' ability to make healthy choices, and by building self-esteem and self-identity, Girls on the Run looks to decrease unhealthy risk-taking later in each of these girls' lives.

"GOTR helps girls get 'outside of the girl box,'" said Trepp. The "Girl Box" refers to the stereotypical and often negative images and messages girls receive from outside influences such as the media, peers and pop culture. Trepp said that getting outside of the girl box means thinking about one's own identity and strengths, and being bold enough to pursue her own hobbies and interests.

"I love that Girls on the Run focuses on creating healthy decision-making skills, versus just responding to bad decisions. I feel like Girls on the Run is a really proactive organization and it has such a wonderful message: for girls to follow their dreams and to be true to their potential," she added.

Writing an essay about GOTR, Riley F. said she walked away from a local GOTR meeting  "smiling, and feeling confident in myself to make new friends, try new things, and try my best. GOTR has helped me to become an achiever, and a more fearless person."

UI Recreational Services and the Iowa City Community School District are partners with Girls on the Run, which is funded by grants and an annual fundraiser, as well as by family, friends and local area businesses. UI Recreational Services staff also provides support for the program.

For more information about Girls on the Run, the 5K run, or to get involved, visit, or contact Girls on the Run Johnson County Program Assistant Phoebe Trepp at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Phoebe Trepp, GOTR Johnson County,; Kerry DuBay, Recreational Services, 319-335-9293; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012,, Writer: Megan McIntyre