Girls on the Run Founder to Keynote Women’s Inspiration Dinner

Barker developed program that has empowered more than one million girls

Molly Barker, founder of Girls on the Run International, will keynote the Bellin Women’s Half Marathon & 5K Women’s Inspiration Dinner on Friday, Oct. 5, the eve of the fourth annual race.

A four-time Hawaii Ironman triathlete, Barker used her background in social work, counseling and teaching to develop the program, which has served more than one million girls since its inception in 1996. Girls on the Run inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running. The program has earned Barker numerous accolades, including the Daily Point of Light Award, given by President Obama and former President Bush in a ceremony at the White House. She retired from the organization in 2013 and has devoted her career since to overcoming political polarization in government and interpersonal relationships.

“Molly Barker is a visionary leader who started this incredible organization with just 13 girls more than two decades ago,” said Linda Maxwell, Race Director of the Bellin Women’s Half Marathon & 5K. “I can’t think of a better person to inspire the participants of our female-focused race on the eve of our fourth annual event.”

Girls on the Run now has 225 councils in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. With the help of more than 100,000 volunteers, it served its one millionth girl in 2015. The Girls on the Run 5K series is the largest in the country, with more than 350 end-of-season 5K events across the United States. The program has been featured by national media including People, Runner’s World, Redbook, Women’s Day, O Magazine, Women’s Running, SELF Magazine, Glamour, Shape, Marie Claire, Parenting, Running Times, CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, NBC News, NPR, ESPN and Fox Sports.

The Friday night Women’s Inspiration Dinner is part of a one-of-a-kind race-weekend experience for Bellin Women’s Half Marathon & 5K participants. This Friday night pasta supper, which includes gluten-free options, offers the chance for women to gather, get inspired and share their excitement ahead of Saturday’s big race. The cost of the event is included with registration for half marathon and half marathon relay participants. Tickets for 5K participants, as well as non-participant family members and friends, are available for purchase separately.

Dubbed “a race to empower women,” the fourth annual Bellin Women’s Half Marathon and new 5K event will take place Saturday, Oct. 6. The only event of its kind in Northeastern Wisconsin, the race seeks to celebrate and motivate female athletes of all levels and abilities. The focus also provides an opportunity to spotlight training and health issues specifically related to women. Training runs for the fourth annual event will begin in July. More information is available at