Groundbreaking Study Proves Let Me Run Increases Social Competence and Fosters Healthy Masculinity

Publish date:

Research confirms nonprofit program creates positive change in boys to a statistically substantial degree

Charlotte, N.C. - September 5, 2017


A recent independent study conducted by University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Institute to Promote Athlete Health and Wellness finds Let Me Run is making a substantial positive impact in boys’ lives. A review of the professional literature revealed UNCG’s groundbreaking study to be the first published to examine healthy masculinity in boys, as well as a program’s ability to improve it.

Let Me Run is a nonprofit wellness program that inspires boys to be themselves, be active and belong. With a comprehensive curriculum that applies the power of running, the program encourages boys to develop their psychological, emotional and social health, in addition to their physical health. Twice a week for seven weeks, two trained volunteer coaches lead an elementary or middle school team through practice. Designed to amplify confidence, self-expression and respect for others, each practice includes a lesson from the Let Me Run curriculum that incorporates running, games and activities. Each fall and spring season culminates in a 5k race festival that celebrates the boys’ personal growth.

The organization seeks to break down negative societal pressures that require males to mask their authentic selves behind a performance of masculinity, in which the most praised emotions are anger, aggression and pride. Phrases like “man up,” “boys don’t cry” and “stop being a girl” serve as catalysts for this type of destructive macho-masculinity. As described by Dr. William Pollack in his book Real Boys, these unhealthy male stereotypes, which Pollack refers to as the “Boy Code,” can stand in the way of boys’ positive futures and lead to disturbing consequences such as illness, decreased learning potential, addiction, and violence. These often unspoken issues lead ninety men in the U.S. to commit suicide every day, four of whom are boys under the age of 19.

UNCG’s study confirms that Let Me Run counteracts these unhealthy societal pressures in finding that:

● The Let Me Run program significantly improves boys’ attitudes and behaviors associated with healthy masculinity (e.g. unrestrictive emotionality, uninhibited affection, and avoidance of physical fighting).

● Let Me Run increases boys’ vigorous physical activity levels.

● Participating in Let Me Run reduces boys’ screen time on school days.

● The Let Me Run program increases boys’ social competence.

The two-season evaluation also showed substantial improvements in Let Me Run participants’ ability to express emotions, show affection, build friendships and connect with others.

“Let Me Run nurtures the types of meaningful bonds and connections that can prevent the deadly epidemic of loneliness we’re seeing in society today,” states Let Me Run Founder Ashley Armistead. According to former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, “loneliness is associated with increased risk of premature death, and the effect on mortality is comparable to [the] impact of smoking or obesity.”

Armistead says, “Let Me Run gives boys permission to be compassionate, confident human beings with a full set of emotions. UNCG’s study backs our belief that through running and healthy communication, we can challenge society’s limiting Boy Code and inspire boys to live into their full, unique potential.”

For more information, visit

About Let Me Run

Since it was founded in 2009, the organization has grown from one team of 14 boys in Charlotte, North Carolina, to hundreds of teams, totaling 17,000 boys across 27 states. As the program continues to grow nationwide, more boys are experiencing the holistic benefits of Let Me Run. Join the movement by starting a team at


Diamond Brand Gear Logo

Diamond Brand Gear Crafts Relationship with Asheville-based Darby Communications

Asheville, N.C. - December 21, 2017  Diamond Brand Gear, an American legacy in domestic outdoor gear manufacturing for over 116 years, has chosen Darby Communications as its PR agency of record, effective immediately. First stamped with a “Diamond Brand" in 1881 as an indication more

Diamond Brand Gear teams up with Biltmore® to Craft Bags for the Sophisticated Explorer

Asheville, N.C. - January 23, 2018  Built on a foundation of American outdoor heritage, Diamond Brand Gear’s Biltmore® Renaissance Collection offers high-quality bags to the sophisticated explorer featuring mobility, versatility, security, comfort and elegance. Joining the more


Ecōths Donates Over 300,000 Meals to Foodbanks

Reno, NV - December 7, 2017 To celebrate the 2017 #GivingTuesday, eco-friendly men’s clothing brand Ecōths, donated 140,027 meals to twelve foodbanks throughout the United States. As part of its 3 Program, Ecōths provides a minimum of three meals to one person for one day with more

Darby Communications

Darby Communications Announces 2018 Stand Up Initiative Partners

Asheville, NC - January 18, 2017  Darby Communications, a boutique public relations firm specializing in the outdoor, fitness and wellness industries, is proud to announce selections for its 2018 Stand Up Initiative. With the goal of helping to protect and preserve the more

Ecōths Expands Their Commitment to Fair Trade in Fall 2018

Reno, NV - December 12, 2017  Expanding their mission to bring together the triple bottom line of People, Planet and Product, Ecōths’ clothing for men will source 60% of their styles in Fair Trade Certified™ factories in Fall 2018. Staying true to their outdoor adventure roots, more

Diamond Brand Gear

Diamond Brand Gear’s 2018 Belay Bag Designed for Modern Adventurers

Asheville, NC - February 27, 2018  Diamond Brand Gear, an American legacy in domestic outdoor gear manufacturing since 1881, is excited to announce the debut of the Belay Bag for outdoor enthusiasts. Utilizing upcycled materials and LEAN manufacturing techniques, the new Belay more


Darby Communications’ Stand Up Initiative Program is Now Accepting Applications

Asheville, NC – Darby Communications, a boutique public relations agency specializing in the outdoor, fitness and wellness industries, introduces the Stand Up Initiative for 2017. The new program will support environmentally-focused non-profit organizations by providing PR more


Darby Communications Announces Selections for Stand Up Initiative

Asheville, NC – April 7, 2017 – Darby Communications, a boutique public relations agency specializing in the outdoor, fitness and wellness industries, is excited to announce the selections for the 2017 Stand Up Initiative. Launched in February, the program supports select more


FIND ME: National Parks Offer a Dramatic Backdrop for Poignant Groundbreaking Summer Movie

Los Angeles, California, May 13, 2019 — Award-winning and critically acclaimed indie feature film Find Me is directed, written by and stars Tom Huang as an emotionally wounded accountant who breaks free from the drudgery of his routine existence to search for a missing co-worker, more