Chic Spotlight: Girls on the Run Cincinnati

Chic Spotlight: Girls on the Run Cincinnati

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Cincy Chic: When did Girls on the Run Cincinnati get started?
Mary Gaertner, Senior Program Manager at GOTR Cincinnati: GOTR Cincinnati is celebrating 10 years running! We are so excited to hit this milestone and so thankful to the hundreds of volunteers who have helped get us to this place. Our local founder Erin Hamilton started GOTR out of her home with just a few other volunteers. Today, we have a staff of 6, 500 coaches, 400 race-day volunteers and numerous other volunteers who help make our program a success.


Cincy Chic: Tell us more about your background with Girls on the Run Cincinnati!
Gaertner: I started with Girls on the Run as a volunteer and has been on staff since 2009. My background in education initially drew me to the program as I was looking for fulfilling volunteer opportunities. My favorite part of the job is visiting the teams and getting to meet the girls! I loves the chance to be on the behind-the-scenes side of GOTR that makes the program possible because I so strongly believes in its goals.


Cincy Chic: What inspired GOTR?
Gaertner: Girls on the Run International was established in 1996 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The curriculum was designed to provide pre-teen girls with the necessary tools they need to handle life’s pressures and experiences with confidence and grace. Our mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. Through original activities and running games, the girls learn life skills as well as train for a 5K race. In the spring and fall, all of our local girls, coaches, volunteers and supporters come together for one amazing 5K experience.


Cincy Chic: How many participants do you get in the program annually?
Gaertner: We have more than 2,500 girls participate each year, and this year for our 10th anniversary, we are excited to reach our 10,000th girl locally.


Cincy Chic: Can you tell us more about the upcoming 5K?
Gaertner: Our Fall 5K<> on November 15 will be the culminating event to our fall season. It will be the second event in our 10-year anniversary series and will celebrate the accomplishments of more than 1,200 local girls. We are expecting more than 3,500 runners, with participants, volunteers and community members combined! Registration is available online for runners and walkers of all abilities. We also need about 400 volunteers to do everything from registering participants, setting up start and finish structures and decorating tiaras with the girls.


Cincy Chic: What about the Volunteer of the Year Award?
Gaertner: To celebrate 10 years, we are kicking off a volunteer of the year award! We are still accepting nominations through July 11 for any of our rock star volunteers. You can find the form to nominate a GOTR volunteer on our website.


Cincy Chic: Are there any other upcoming events?
Gaertner: We have two fundraising events in the fall – our annual breakfast and evening with Molly Barker, the founder of GOTRI. For more information about these events, please contact the Girls on the Run office directly, either by phone at 513-321-1056 or via email at

We are also very excited about the inaugural Queen Bee Half Marathon taking place in October and are looking for SoleMate charity runners to run the race on behalf of GOTR. Runners and walkers can pledge to raise $160, which is a full scholarship for 1 girl, by taking part in any event. SoleMates receive a GOTR tech shirt and other goodies, weekly training and fundraising tips, as well as a discount code for the Queen Bee!


Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more about GOTR Cincinnati?
Gaertner: All information about getting involved with Girls on the Run can be found on our website –!