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GOTR 5K Follow-Up Message

Dear GOTR Community,

After experiencing a memorable first in our organization after 19 years of service, we are reaching out today to address last Saturday’s event cancellation. We received notes of support for which we are grateful, as well as feedback that we take seriously. All of the communications from this past weekend will help us grow stronger as an organization.

As you can imagine, it was a painful decision to cancel the GOTR Spring 5K after months of planning meetings, strategizing, organizing, recruiting volunteers, etc., and the many, many hours we put into an event that did not happen. It was gut-wrenching, but as I am sure you agree, the priority had to be about the safety of the girls despite the tremendous amount of work we put into it. For that reason, we had to cancel.

As empathy is a hallmark of not only our core values but also a lesson taught in our curriculum, our hope is that our community can offer grace at this unprecedented time.

We honor and understand your frustration, as we are also disappointed. Our staff and 5K Committee have been arranging this event since January. Hundreds of hours have gone into the planning of this celebration. None of us take the gravity of this situation lightly, nor was the decision to cancel made flippantly. In 19 years of operation, we have never had to cancel a 5K due to weather, although it’s come close in the past. 

We consulted with the police, local meteorologists, and data available to us at the time of decision-making. The information at hand presented a risk that we were not comfortable assuming on behalf of the 1,000 minors in the program.

All of that being said, we want to provide direct answers to some of the most pressing questions received. Please read on.

Why did you cancel so early? Why no delay?

The decision to cancel at the time we did was to ensure the safety of our volunteers who would have begun setting up the venue at 12:00pm and to respect the travel time of the teams coming from ~1 hour away. A delay was not possible due to permitting expirations and the police detail schedule.

The venue and materials used to put on the 5K consisted of a very large amount of metal product. We were not willing to risk the safety of our vendors and volunteers either. 

The 5K route provided no areas to shelter the 3,000 participants. The course included open roadways and a park system covered in trees and metal flagpoles.

We continued to monitor the area until well into the afternoon. Storm clouds approached and opened up at the exact time the 5K would have begun. It was very clear by that time that had the event opened at 2:00 pm, we would have had to cancel the 5K start and send everyone home.


Can I have a refund?

As stated in the 5K registration, there will be no refunds for any 5K celebration fees. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and although we were unable to have our 5K, we still incurred all the expenses associated with putting on this event. This is an unfortunate situation and again, we would appreciate your understanding.

All the vendors are paid in advance. Race organizations do not get refunds for the tents they did not use, the sound systems ordered, the food and water that is not consumed, the police they hired, the portable toilets, etc. On top of the celebration expenses, we lose additional income for the lack of sales of GOTR merchandise, snacks, drinks, day of registration, and day of donations. We are experiencing a tremendous loss on many levels. 

Our hope is that the girls and their families, the coaches, all of the buddies, and the friends that supported them through this amazing journey continue to support the program. We look forward to future Girls on the Run 5Ks with many happy faces. We are very thankful that after producing 33 previous 5Ks, this is the first we’ve had to cancel.


Why can’t we reschedule?

Because the GOTR 5K is a large event that requires coordination with Cincinnati Parks, Cincinnati Police, Newport Police, City of Cincinnati, multiple vendors, and significant human and financial resources, it is not possible to reschedule.

However, we are working on a few options wherein another kind of celebration might be feasible. We will provide information about that as soon as we possibly can.

Can I pick up my shirt and medal?

Yes! Anyone is welcome to come to our office this week between 9:00-6:00 Tuesday, 5/16, Wednesday 5/17, or Thursday 5/18 to receive their shirt and medal, and turn in any Unstoppable Us donations and receive the prizes. Our address: 4760 Red Bank Rd. Suite 218, Cincinnati, OH 45227. We are located in the same building as Mercy Health and CEI.


We are so thankful for your support and participation this spring, and please join us in congratulating your girls on their accomplishments this season. We also thank our sponsors who have supported us from the beginning of the season.

In the interest of transparency, I hope this note serves to clear up some of the inquiries you’ve had. If you have further questions or concerns, please reach out and someone will respond within 48 hours. 



Annie Horn
Executive Director
Girls on the Run Greater Cincinnati 

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We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. Non-profit girl empowerment after-school program for girls.

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