Running Buddy

Share a girl’s exhilaration and excitement as she crosses the finish line of her first 5K. For many girls, this is the biggest challenge and greatest accomplishment of their Girls on the Run experience. One of their favorite parts is having their very own Running Buddy by their side!

The goal of Girls on the Run is for the girls to do their best and HAVE FUN! Girls are not encourage to race competitively, but they are encouraged to reach their own goals. For most girls that's making it to the finish line – whether it is by walking, running or skipping!


What is a Running Buddy?

A Running Buddy runs, walks, skips or hops with a GOTR girl during two 5K experiences: on-site at the Practice 5K at her program site and at the Girls on the Run Celebratory 5K! That means keeping pace with the girl, ensuring her safety, and cheering her on!

Running Buddies do not have to run. Running Buddies may be of all fitness abilities, but they do need to be able to complete a 5K.

There are two types of Running Buddies:

▪ Family Member/Friend Running Buddy - This is someone that the parent assigns to run with their child. This individual must be at least 16 years old by the Practice 5K date. This person can be the parent, a sibling, another family member or a family friend.

▪ Community Running Buddy - These are volunteers that are fun-loving, patient and supportive, they enjoy spending time with youth and have the ability to run or power walk a 5K. Community Running Buddies are matched with a GOTR girl if she doesn't have a family member/friend Running Buddy or at the parent's request. Community Running Buddies required to be at least 18 years old by the practice 5K date. All community running buddies must complete our background check during registration for the safety of our girls. 

Once a running buddy is registered we will send them some training materials to review to prepare them for this role!

What makes a successful Running Buddy?

A successful running buddy is someone that: 
• Has the ability to run/walk/skip a 5K (3.1 miles) at whatever pace the girl sets. 
• Can motivate & support the girl to “keep moving forward” without pushing TOO hard. 
• Can objectively look at the girl they are running with and assess her needs accordingly. 
• Can carry their own + their girl’s water bottle & “stuff” (sweatshirts, clothing they shed while running, etc.) 
• Enjoys spending time with youth and is fun-loving, patient and supportive with not only their girl, but ALL of the other girls and running buddies participating (aka, can be a team player).

A running buddy should NOT be someone that: 
• Is trying to set their “PR” (personal record). 
• Does not like crowds. 
• Gets frustrated easily. 
• Is concerned and nervous about being able to complete the distance at their girl’s pace.

What are the time commitments?

Volunteering to be a running buddy requires two time commitments:

- Practice 5K (10/30, 10/31, or 11/6) - an hour and a half on one weekday afternoon 

- Celebratory 5K (December 2nd) - two to three hours on a weekend morning

Commitment to attend both 5K events is extremely important. Each Girls on the Run participant looks forward to having "her own" Buddy for the events, and maintaining consistency by running with the same person for both events contributes to her overall experience of mentorship and encouragement.

When are the Practice 5K and the Celebratory 5K events?

This season the Practice 5Ks will be held either April 20th or 24th depending on the program site.  Start time will be either 7:30 a.m., 2:50 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 3:15 p.m., 3:30 p.m. or 3:45 p.m. There will only be one Practice 5K that a running buddy has to attend based on their site assignment.

Schedule flexibility is critical for this position. In order to accommodate so many girls in the program and/or inclement weather, we sometimes need to make some last minute changes!

The Celebratory 5K for ALL sites will be held Saturday, December 2nd, from 8 AM - 11 AM.


How much does it cost to be a Running Buddy?

The cost of registration is $15 during early registration (now through November 2nd)! Starting November 2nd, the price increases to $20. This fee includes the running buddy's 5K registration and a t-shirt.

For the safety of our girls, all of our community running volunteers complete our background check.The cost of this is $8.00. (In order to keep our costs down, we ask volunteers to cover this cost. If this is an issue, please let us know.) You will be prompted to complete the background check during the registration process. Note: You will not need to complete it again if you have already been cleared through us during a prior season.

Family member/friend running buddies are not required to complete a background check.

How do I register as a Running Buddy?

After verifying that you (or the designated family member/friend) can attend both the Practice 5K and Celebratory 5K, please register below.



When will I be matched with a girl?

Community Running Buddies will be matched with a GOTR girl at her Practice 5K. We will try our best to match you with a girl of a similar running style/pace.

Who do I contact if I have questions or need additional info?

▪ Please email for general questions and/or more information about being a running buddy.
▪ Please email if you are a parent would like to have Girls on the Run assign your child a Community Buddy or if you have questions about registrations and/or background checks.