Girls on the Run

This spring twenty girls at Crystal Spring Elementary School participated in Girls on the Run. Three of those girls were St. John’s girls—Abby Scaggs, Ada Emerson, and Virginia Bass. Christine Mortlock, Minister for Children, Families, and Lifelong Formation, and Carley Emerson, St. John’s member and Sunday School teacher, were two of the coaches. If you have a child who is interested in participating next fall, please be in touch with Carley at or Callie Hammer at

By Callie Hammer, Program Director, Greater Roanoke, Girls on the Run Central Virginia and Blue Ridge

Third through eighth grade is a critical stage for girls, when society starts to tell girls that they can’t do the things they thought they always could. At Girls on the Run, we tell every girl that she CAN. 

Girls on the Run is an after-school program designed to inspire girls of all abilities to recognize and embrace their inner strength. We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using fun, experience-based curricula that creatively integrate running. Girls on the Run offers two seasons, fall and spring. For ten weeks, groups of 8-20 girls meet twice a week with dedicated volunteer coaches, to engage in a curriculum that connects social and emotional learning with physical activity. The program’s curriculum places an emphasis on the development of competence, confidence, connection, character, caring, and contribution to the program participants. The program culminates with girls positively impacting their communities through a service project and completing a celebratory, non-competitive 5K event.

Girls on the Run has been in Roanoke for ten years, and the Roanoke area is now a part of Girls on the Run Central Virginia and Blue Ridge and serves the region from Charlottesville to Radford. For the Spring 2022 season, Girls on the Run has programming at Crystal Spring Elementary, Garden City Elementary, Hurt Park Elementary, and Bonsack Elementary with a total of 70 participants. The Celebration 5K at the end of the season takes part at Green Hill Park, with our next 5K to be held on May 7th, 2022. Participants in the Girls on the Run program come from across the Roanoke Valley, with each girl bringing her own unique contribution to her team and surrounding community. As a part of the program, each team must complete a community service project. We have had girls create dog toys for local animal shelters, pick up trash on school property, help clean a teacher’s room, and write thank-you cards to medical professionals, bus drivers, and school staff. At the Celebratory 5K, principals, teachers, school staff, supporters of the girls, and the community will show up in force to cheer on every girl, celebrate her progress, and show her that she is capable. Our Celebratory 5K celebrates more than just the physical accomplishments and capabilities of the girls; it shows the girls that they can accomplish their goals by taking the steps forward. 

Girls on the Run is dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams, and we hope you can join us in this mission. 

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