Molly Barker, Girls on the Run

Who she is: Founder of the national nonprofit organization Girls on the Run

What she does: Inspires and motivates thousands of young girl to embrace their passion and run, run, run!

Why she does it: A four-time Hawaii Ironman triathlete, Molly Barker began running at the age of 15, when she found herself stuck in the “girl box,” when only girls who were a certain size with a certain beauty were popular; when girls who wanted to fit in had to mold their personalities and bodies to fit the requirements of the box. Molly kept running. Today she inspires young girls from around the world to do the same.

THE WOMAN BEHIND GIRLS ON THE RUN

A four-time Hawaii Ironman triathlete, Molly Barker began running at the age of 15, when she found herself stuck in the “girl box,” when only girls who were a certain size with a certain beauty were popular; when girls who wanted to fit in had to mold their personalities and bodies to fit the requirements of the box.

Molly kept running. Years later, on July 7, 1993, she took off on a sunset run and found the inspiration that grew into Girls on the Run. Using her background in counseling and teaching, current research on adolescent issues and her personal recovery from alcoholism, she developed the earliest version of the curriculum with the help of 13 brave girls at Charlotte Country Day School. Twenty-six girls showed up for the next session, then 75, and so the program grew.

The national magazine Runner’s World awarded Molly its Golden Shoe Award in 1998 for contributions to the community through running. That resulted in calls from across the country, and Molly decided to share her vision with the world. Girls on the Run, International, a 501© (3) nonprofit, was born in 2000.

The organization now operates in more than 150 cities across North America, with tens of thousands of girls and women participating. In 2007, GOTR hosted over 70 end-of-season races, with over 60,000 people participating.

Girls on the Run has been featured in People, Runner’s World, Running Times, Redbook, Women’s Day, O Magazine and Forbes as well as on MSNBC, ABC News, NBC News, NPR, ESPN, and CNN News.


The Women