It’s a new year, and men and women across the world are embarking on new fitness and running routines to start 2017 off right. For many people, especially those who have struggled with their weight, exercising in public can be nerve-wracking and anxiety-inducing. Running in public? Even worse. I’ve been there. Even though I have never been overweight, I had tremendous anxiety about running outdoors when I first started because of my speed, or lack thereof. I mostly ran in the dark until I felt “fast enough” to be seen during the daylight. What does that have to do with running a women-only event? Plenty. Whether you’re male or female, the stress of being a new athlete can be overwhelming. If you’re hoping to run your first race, you may be worried about finishing last, not knowing what to do, getting lost, etc. If you want to guarantee a great experience, read on for why you should consider running an all-women’s race:
- They’re inclusive: Don’t let the name fool you – most women’s only events are open to men as well, it just isn’t advertised. Men are ineligible for awards, but they are still welcome. Don’t believe me? I ran my first all-women’s race with one of my male best friends, who was pacing me as I attempted to PR. He got a warm reception and even donned a tiara and a boa at the finish line, where he received the nickname of “Diva Chuck.”
- They’re relaxed: While there will certainly be women there who are in it to win it, most participants in all-women’s events are looking for a fun, relaxed event. You’ll see tutus and costumes everywhere you look, with tons of photo opportunities, flowers, and more!
- They’re usually walker friendly: Trying to find a race with a time limit that accepts walkers can be challenging, but women’s events typically have extended time limits. You definitely won’t be the only person walking or run-walking, so don’t worry about being the odd one out! There is a ton of camaraderie at both the front and the back of the pack.
- They celebrate women in sport: It wasn’t too long ago that women weren’t allowed to run long distances because doctors feared their uteruses would fall out! There’s something special about getting out there and running with thousands of women who are focused on improving themselves and their lives. Celebrate how far women have come, whether you’re male or female!
- They’re fun: I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the most girly person or the biggest fan of pink, rhinestones, and the like. In fact, I had vowed never to do a women’s-only event prior to my first one in 2013. While I was skeptical of the whole idea, I couldn’t deny that the atmosphere just put me in a good mood. From the giant pink medals to the finish line tiaras and the fact that our bibs said “Diva [first name]” on them, I couldn’t help but smile. It probably didn’t hurt that I smashed my PR by six minutes, either!
Looking for some great women’s-only races? Here are some of our favorites!
- Divas Half Marathon and 5k – North Myrtle Beach: May 7, 2017 (other locations also available on alternate dates)
- Go Girl Run Half Marathon, 5k, and Relay – Oklahoma City: March 19, 2017 (other locations also available on alternate dates)
- Disney Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend – Disneyland, California: May 11-14, 2017
- SoCal Wine County Women’s Half Marathon and 5k – Temecula, California: June 3, 2017
- Thelma and Louise Half Marathon and Relay – Moab, Utah: June 3, 2017
Have you ever run a women’s only race? Tweet @feetures and @thetrexrunner and tell us about your experience!