Girls on the Run is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.


Girls on the Run of Columbia is an independent council of Girls on the Run International, which has a network of over 200 councils across 50 states and the District of Columbia. GOTR-Columbia was founded in 2004 through an affiliate partnership with the University of South Carolina, and received 501(c)3 nonprofit status in 2008. The council has served more than 6,000 girls in Kershaw, Lexington, Richland and Sumter counties.

Girls on the Run International was established in 1996 in Charlotte, North Carolina by Molly Barker. What started with thirteen girls in one school has grown to over 200 councils in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. With the help of almost 100,000 volunteers, Girls on the Run served nearly 180,000 girls in 2015, including our millionth girl! Girls on the Run continues to grow and currently hosts more than 350 end-of-season 5K events across the United States, making the Girls on the Run 5K series the largest in the country. Girls on the Run has also expanded to include middle school girls through Heart & Sole, a program dedicated to the unique needs of adolescent girls.

core values

Recognize our POWER and RESPONSIBILITY to be INTENTIONAL in our decision making


Express JOY, OPTIMISM AND GRATITUDE through our words, thoughts
and actions


NURTURE our physical, emotional and spiritual HEALTH

STAND UP for ourselves and others

our people


Mary Lohman-Vargas, LMSW, MPH

Executive Director

“Mary began volunteering as a GOTR coach in 2003. In her years as a coach, she witnessed GOTR’s incredible power to help both girls and coaches activate their limitless potential. She joined the staff in 2010, after serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador.”

Shannon Fountain, MPA

Community Relations & Project Manager

“Besides watching the girls become joyful, healthy and confident, Shannon loves seeing the community come together to make a difference in the lives of girls. Shannon had 6 years of nonprofit experience before joining GOTR in 2014.”

Jamie Marlow

Program Coordinator

“Jamie fell in love with GOTR as a volunteer, and joined the staff to follow her passion to help girls develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles. She holds a B.S. in Education and has formerly worked in Richland and Kershaw County school districts.”

Lilly Rush

Operations Coordinator

“GOTR is the perfect fit for Lilly’s desire to empower and educate young girls so they can follow their dreams and make an impact. Lilly holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Arkansas and has previously worked as a Head Start family advocate.”

Tally Gilchrist

Operations Assistant

“Tally joined the USMC after high school, where she learned to be confident and believe in herself. After spending the last three years in the accounting field, she realized she had a responsibility to teach, empower, and inspire girls.”

Dannicia Law

Operations Assistant

“Dannicia is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work at the University of South Carolina. She hopes to motivate youth to excel as well as lend a helping hand in any way she can. “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud” - Maya Angelou”

Kelsey Connely

Operations Assistant

“Kelsey is a first year Master of Human Resources Student at University of South Carolina. She graduated with her Bachelor's Degree in Human Resource Management in May 2016 from Mercyhurst University located in Erie, PA.”

Rebecca Geiger

Social Work Intern

“Becca chose to join Girls on the Run because she wanted to work with an organization that empowers women and girls to become confident, independent thinkers, with the self-confidence to boldly pursue their dreams! “Little girls with dreams become women with vision.” -Unknown”

Kaela Imm

Social Work Intern

“Kaela loves staying active and enjoys empowering girls to be healthy and happy through program support and coaching in her role as a GOTR intern.”

Gabrielle Velasquez

Event Management Intern

“Gabby is currently finishing a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport and Entertainment Management at the University of South Carolina. She’s excited to be a part of the GOTR team and creating an event that both inspires and empowers young girls in the Columbia area.”

We're always considering passionate individuals to join our team and help us inspire more girls in the Columbia area.

Internship Opportunities
Our Board

Courtney Blackmon

Nutrition Services Director

HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital

Blaire Cann

Senior Law Clerk

Supreme Court of South Carolina

Mike Coble (VICE CHAIR)

General Manager

Gene Love

Keisha Hightower

Program Coordinator

Department of Health and Environmental Control

Tiffany Collins, LPC



Katie Ryan

Wealth Management Associate

Morgan Stanley

Katie Schanz (CHAIR)


Roger Lewis

Cheri Shapiro, PhD (Secretary)

Associate Director, Institute for Families in Society

USC College of Social Work

Cheryl Stanton (Treasurer)

Executive Director

SC Department of Employment and Workforce

Angela Thames

Financial Advisor

Wells Fargo Advisors

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At the heart of Girls on the Run are amazing volunteers whose commitment and passion impact the lives of girls each year.

Board Opportunities

Mailing: PO Box 5167, West Columbia, SC 29171
Physical Address: 1625 Charleston Highway, Suite C, West Columbia, SC 29169

(803) 381-0482