Running and the sport of women’s running has been on my mind for some time now. I am in the midst of putting the final touches on 18 Maple’s newest endeavor: a Women’s Only Runcation to be held this July in Ludlow, VT. It’s yet another lofty project but one that I feel is important to the women of the running community.
I’ve followed the continued rise of women’s running in the US and it has become apparent that what once was a seemingly cut throat, don’t share the “special sauce” mentality has shifted drastically. Female runners are joining forces to not only train together but race together. There are small groups of women meeting to run locally and nationally. These same women are putting their hard work to the test in races to help each other cross the finish or pace out to an Olympic Qualifying Time for the marathon. Think Running Girl Gangs but in the most supportive yet badass way.
Much of this can be attributed to Shalane Flanagan and her “F*ck Yeah!” fist pumping win at the NYC Marathon in 2017. The New York Times wrote an article in 2017 dubbed it the “Shalane Effect”. Known for her competitiveness, she has found a way to continue to thrive well into her career and do so by building and mentoring a team of young, elite female runners around her.
Each of these women, to no surprise, have seen their own national and international success. Shalane’s NYC Marathon win did not just end a long time winless drought by an American female runner, but it sparked the “Shalane Effect” in young girls and women of all ages. The New York Times describes the "Shalane Effect", and I’d have to agree, as being unapologetically competitive and team-oriented all in the name of elevating the women around you.
The inspiration and respect women have gained for one another in Sport, the Work Force, and Life over the course of the last few years has been tremendous. It is shown by the support towards one another’s training and goals and triumphs rather than discouraging them. I write this not to suggest that this hasn’t been done and isn’t already alive and well but to suggest that we are in a time where women are banning together and rising to their fullest potential. The difference now is social media. The platform is there and it is being seen and shared. Topics that were once taboo like body image are now very relevant.
Professional runner Allie Kieffer speaks often of body image and the ideal for a professional marathoner. Her passion to move the conversation forward in a positive direction is inspiring and one that all female athletes should listen to. Professional Triathlete & 3-time Olympian Sarah True has tweeted about the need for balance between strength training, diet and training. Too much of one thing and not enough of the other does not allow for peak performance. Running companies and brands like Oiselle are using their platform to promote clothing designed by and for women and to create a “sisterhood of support at a variety of levels from beginners to professionals”. Their social media feeds are bursting with strong, powerful women doing their thing.
These examples are just a few reasons why the need for a Women’s Only Runcation is timely and warranted. The goal is to provide women of all levels an opportunity to join a group of like-minded women, lace up their sneaks and explore new roads and destinations together. It’s not about how fast you can run but how much you can help raise the woman up beside you. It’s about inspiring her to find a new distance or pace PR, or maybe sign up for that big race that she hasn’t been able to commit to...until now. What I ultimately am hoping to provide the women who attend 18 Maple’s FIRST Women’s Only Runcation is an opportunity to feel empowered, connected, and ready to take off in a new direction with her running.
For more details about 18 Maple’s Women’s Only Runcation or to sign up email me for more information!
Read the New York Times How The “Shalane Flanagan Effect” Works here: