Girls On the Run program returns in Greensboro

Girls On the Run is returning to Guilford County this week.

Girls On the Run program returns in Greensboro
Click on the video to see an interview with Girls On the Run Greater Piedmont's Lindsay Peiffer, Alison Ahrens and Sarah Swertfeger.

Girls On the Run is expanding its Piedmont presence into Guilford County with programs beginning this week.

Girls On the Run, led by executive director Alison Ahrens, returned in Forsyth County in 2020. The programs is designed for girls in grades 3-5 and grades 6-8.

"It's this special program that you integrate running in a fun and unique way, where it's not just 'Hey, girls go out and run these laps and run all the time,'" Ahrens says. "It's based off different fun games and fun activities that they're doing, answering questions, getting that social emotional learning side while they're getting their physical activity. So they don't even know that they're running to that cone, running back, because they're talking with their buddy, they're answering a question or they're coming up with a solution, then they're running back and reporting it to their coach."

Greensboro runner Sarah Swertfeger, a member of the organization's board of directors, observed that about girls in the Forsyth County program as a volunteer coach.

"Maybe they weren't excited about running at first," Swertfeger says, "but since it was activities, making it fun, that they they really did get excited about it. And they really surprised themselves at the end of the season."

What you need to know

Participants: Girls in grades 3-5, 6-8. Girls can register to participate with schools that have programs or other groups.

About the program: "We are a non-competitive after-school running program for girls in grades third through eighth. We have the healthy living, healthy aspects of Girls On the Run with the running. But we also incorporate social emotional learning through our structured curriculum that our volunteer coaches go through the season with the girls with. At the end of our 10-week season, all of the girls in the areas that we serve, all eight counties, run in an an end-of-the-season 5K race together." – Lindsay Peiffer, program manager, Girls On the Run Greater Piedmont.

Registration: Through today. Spring season will begin this week.

Practices: Two times per week for 18 weeks.

End of the season: Girls on the Run 5K, April 29, North Iredell High School, Olin.

Information:,, (716) 998-1056.

What they're saying

"We primarily serve the elementary school age, third through fifth. And we know the importance of girls feeling like they are able to have a safe space. That's a tougher time where we feel like girls are learning and maybe progressing a little bit further as far as maturity goes during that age bracket. For me during that age, I was way more comfortable in a group of girls than I was with a group of girls and boys as far as answering questions, feeling like I can be myself, feeling I can branch out and try new things without the reservation of feeling embarrassed in front of everyone." – Peiffer.

"Being in a room full of boys that are competitive, it isn't always developmentally appropriate to have a girl sitting there. They don't feel comfortable doing the same activities amongst that competition. So it really is that safe space that provides for the girls to be able to come and be who they are, be the best of who they are." – Ahrens.