Girls Running Strong

finding STRENGTH in every STRIDE

Meet the Founder and Head Coach

Joanne Olson has been running for over 30 years.  She was a 4 time varsity athlete for her high school cross country and track teams as well as a past collegiate cross country runner.  She graduated college with a Bachelors Degree in Recreation Management and Youth Leadership.  After marrying and completing college she decided to set a goal to run a marathon.  In 1998 she finished her first marathon and has since had 4 children and completed 7 additional marathons including Boston and New York and several half marathons. Joanne is a former Vice President of Youth Market with the American Heart Association where she worked with local schools to help raise money through the Jump Rope for Heart Program promoting healthy lifestyles for young children.  She is a former certified ACE Personal Trainer and high school girls cross country coach.  Joanne is currently certified as an ASEP (American Sport Education Program) coach, and maintains her CPR and First Aid certifications from the American Red Cross.  She loves to compete in everything from 5K's to Marathons and has competed on the Las Vegas Village Runner Racing Team and the San Diego Track Club Open Women's Team. When she's not running she stays busy raising her three boys and one daughter.







 Stefany Jackson grew up in Escondido, and just recently moved back to the area. Stefany is a Dental Hygienist turned Homemaker. She loves being with her kiddos and has found running makes her a better mom and stronger person. She gained a love for running during her college years and found it to be a great stress reliever. Stefany understands that these girls are capable of great things with a positive attitude and some hard work and is excited to help them realize that they are so much stronger than they think! Alhough she considers herself to be a recreational runner, Stefany has completed many race distances from 5k's to half marathons.  Outside of running, Stefany loves to waterski, bake delicious treats, and spend time with her family. She has two young children and a darling husband. Stefany helps with our Escondido training programs and our half marathon training program.


Kim Graff : BIO coming soon!

*all of our coaches are CPR certified and have undergone a background check prior to working with the girls.

A message from Joanne

I am very excited about this program and believe it will help your daughter conquer the challenges of growing up by providing a lasting sense of accomplishment and achievement.  Anyone that knows me knows that I'm a goal setter. There is always something I'm working towards.  I recently finished my 8th marathon. I know how to set and achieve goals and I know that reaching a goal no matter how big or small can give us great power and confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving.

Young girls are bombarded in today’s world with messages of “You’re not skinny enough, pretty enough, or popular enough.”  They need to be armed with a sense of who they are, what they stand for, and that no matter what life throws at them they can rise above! 

I believe that running has a lot of parallels to life.  Let’s face it running is not always fun.  In fact most people feel it is pretty uncomfortable and down right hard!  Life will obviously give us situations that are tough too.  Just like in running, if we push through those uncomfortable and sometimes painful times ...and stay true to who we are, we will come out of them stronger, confident, and more resilient. 

There is nothing greater than watching someone’s face as they cross the finish line be it a marathon or a 5k.  You can see the joy and amazement radiating from their face as they realize that all the work they put into that goal was worth it and the “hard” is what made it great!  I want these girls to experience that and KNOW that they are so much stronger than they think and they CAN do hard things!

It is my hope that Girls Running Strong will help these girls become STRONG in who they are as they enter into what will likely be one of the more difficult and confusing phases of their life. I don’t expect that girls will love running at the completion of this program, rather it is my intention to use running as a means to instill a sense of self-worth, accomplishment, and confidence that they can carry with them throughout their lives!

Joanne Olson



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