Girls on the Run of Tucson; More than a Running Program

Girls on the Run of Tucson begins its third season this Fall with a 5k event scheduled for November 13, 2011 in collaboration with the TMC Everyone Runs Half Marathon. The objective of Girls on the Run of Tucson is to educate and empower girls at an early age with the outcome of preventing at-risk activities in their future. Girls on the Run of Tucson is a positive youth development program which combines an interactive curriculum and running to inspire self-respect and healthy lifestyles in pre-teen girls. The core curriculum addresses many aspects of girl’s development – their physical, emotional, mental and social well-being. Lessons provide girls with the tools to make positive decisions that avoid risky adolescent behaviors. The program engages girls in 3rd-5th grade and their families. TMC is introducing the Girls on Track program this fall for girls in 6th-8th grade and their families.

TMC’s mission is to improve the health and wellness of the community. The girls in the program are never forced to run, but they are required to MOVE their bodies in every lesson. The ten-week curriculum trains and prepares the girls for the “end-of-season” 5k run. The training for the run is used as a vehicle to teach the participating girls what wonderful, unique and beautiful people they are! Boosted self-esteem, increased confidence, and a more positive body image are just some of the incredible outcomes parents can expect to see in their daughters. Girls on the Run of Tucson is MUCH more than just a running program.

The buzz surrounding Girls on the Run of Tucson increases with each session. Schools are lined up in wait for each of the next three seasons. Inquiries arrive daily from community volunteers who want to help and be part of the program. We find a role for everyone interested.

The program’s success is driven by a wide base of community support including Tucson pediatricians, engaged individuals, and local organizations like Everyone Runs, Fleet Feet, Southern Arizona Roadrunners, Meet Me at Maynards, Tucson Unified School District, Sunnyside Unified School District, Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, YMCA, Saguaro Girls Scouts, and Pima County Department of Transportation. As caregivers we understand that disease prevention and lifestyle changes begin with early education. Girls on the Run of Tucson brings together in the comfortable and familiar school setting, a balanced educational curriculum that embraces fun, self-empowerment and exercise… the key to life’s future success.

As one Tucson mother said: “For now, my daughter’s goal is to be in good shape. But Girls on the Run does more. It has lifted her horizon and given her something quite positive to focus on. I am so grateful to TMC for this program.”

Girls on the Run was developed by Molly Barker, MSW, and  four-time Hawaii Ironman triathlete, combining her counseling and teaching expertise with research on adolescent issues. The innovative, experiential program combines training for a 5k event with life-changing, confidence building lessons that enhance the physical and mental health of 8 – 12 year old girls. To learn more, visit

Please vote for Tucson Medical Center and Girls on the Run of Tucson in Aetna’s Voices of Health Contest that runs through Oct. 8.

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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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