Award baskets are arranged on the Mt. Eccles Elementary cafeteria stage on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023 to celebrate the end of the Girls on the Run season. Photo courtesy of CFRC

The Girls on the Run Cordova chapter just completed its ninth season. The program is put on by the Cordova Family Resource Center (CFRC), and aims to help support young girls in the community through physical exercise and mentorship.  

Jessica Wray, victim advocate and administrator at CFRC, is one of the main coaches of the program. Wray said that this season 15 girls participated in the running club. The group meets after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Practices are typically held indoors at the Mt. Eccles Elementary gym to account for the fall weather.  

Wray explained that the program focuses on equipping young people with valuable emotional tools.  

“It’s not just about running,” she said. “It’s more than that. There are lessons that they learn like empathy and gratitude.”  

The program is a nationwide effort to empower young girls through focusing on building confidence through accomplishments and fostering a mind-body connection. The national program has two age sections: grades 3-5 and grades 6-8. The Cordova chapter runs a program for girls grades 3-6 to account for all middle school age levels. CFRC hosts a similar but separate program, Let Me Run, for boys in the Spring.  

Practices begin with a snack and water provided by CFRC. Participants are also provided with shoes for the duration of the program. After a brief warm up and discussion about the theme of the day the group plays a short game incorporating that theme. Lessons in the curriculum include managing emotions, empathy, and leadership among others.  


Wray said another big aspect of the program is connecting girls with role models through the volunteer coaches in the program.  

“It gives inspiration and role models to look up to,” she said. “It’s important for developing their mental health as well as their physical health.”  

CFRC was able to provide journals for participants this year to help them write down goals for their season and reflect on past accomplishments.  

Wray said now after three seasons of coaching for Girls on the Run she has seen many of the same girls return each year and grow more confident along the way.  

“We get to see the girls who have been here in the past brighten and sparkle and get better every year,” she said. According to Wray this growth in older girls also helps encourage younger participants as well.  

On Saturday, Oct. 21 CFRC held a celebration for the end of the 2023 Girls on the Run season. Participants, coaches and family members gathered at Mt. Eccles Elementary to run a 5K together. The distance run is the culmination of the season’s practices and represents a large goal for many of the participants. The course for this year went from the elementary school to the Science Center and back again. Participants wore costumes of their choice for the 5K, and afterwards enjoyed an award ceremony and games in the school gym.  

Wray said that the celebration was bittersweet for some of the girls: “A lot of the girls said they were sad that Girls on the Run is ending, but they were excited to finally run the 5K.”