Women are finishing half and full marathons in increasing numbers. The October 2014 issue of Women’s Running reports that over one million females finished a half-marathon in 2013 and that 61% of half-marathon finishers were women. The Women’s Half-Marathon celebrates that shift in the sport of distance running by putting on an event that caters specifically to women runners.
I ran the Women’s Half-Marathon for the first time last year and had a great experience. It was a well-organized event with lots of extra touches women appreciate, such as a cute shirt, a charm attached to the finisher’s medal that can be removed and worn on a necklace, a “freshen-up” tent, and post-event bubbly and cookies.
It feels weird, but empowering to be running in the midst of a sea of women. There are women of all shapes, sizes and colors, but it’s still a LOT of women, several thousand, in fact. Imagine several thousand bouncing ponytails and cute running outfits. There are a few men, but most of them are there to support the running women in their lives. The event doesn’t even offer men-sized running shirts – they only have women’s sizes.
As much as I enjoyed the event itself, I enjoyed training with the East Nasty training group more. I enjoyed it this year just as much as I did last year and was disappointed when I had to miss a few weeks because of an injury.
Alyce, along with her husband Mark, is our fearless leader. The success of any group relies on the strength of its leadership. Alyce sets a tone of kindness and mutual encouragement – all of the women (and men, too) follow her lead.
It’s no secret that sometimes we women can be catty, but I’ve never seen evidence of that on our Sunday runs. Whether you’re fast or slow, an experienced runner or a beginner – it’s a nice bunch of ladies to spend a Sunday morning run with.
The good news is that race day is upon us and the East Nasty Women’s Half-Marathon group is coming to an end, along with early Saturday nights (or suffering the consequences) and getting up before the crack of dawn on Sunday. No more limping around the house after the long runs; no more ruined pedicures from swollen feet encased in running shoes.
The bad news is that I’m going to miss seeing these ladies, with the easy camaraderie and the mutual interest in each other’s running exploits. I’m going to miss their warm smiles and greetings; I’m going to miss them asking how my run went.
If you’re reading this and you were one of the Sunday morning East Nasty girls, I’m going to miss you. Thank you all for being awesome.