250+ women toed the start line this morning at the annual HCS Women’s Distance Festival. I have run this race before but took a hiatus last year. I hit the race with both my RP and mom to celebrate our strength and health. This race, like others recently, again had a family atmosphere that gave me great joy. Mothers and daughters celebrating healthy living through running and Fathers and Grandfathers cheering on.
FRP (fabulous running partner) and I started off well, not particularly conservative (6:37 first mile) but maintained a great pace through mile 2. The humidity was really frustrating but we persevered. Somewhere between 2 and 3 I moved ahead staying to the edge of the route to assure for no extra steps. At about 2.6 I was passed by the same nice mom who always passes me around that point and followed her stride up through to the very good finish (22:16, v. pleased). (I did actually finish ahead of her 12 year old, for once) FRP followed quickly thereafter in a fantastic time. Mom PR’d and looked quite strong in her last half mile.
I was so happy to be among strong women. During packet pickup a gentleman told me in no uncertain terms that he thought it was unfair to have a women’s only race. He wasn’t kidding, he had a real problem with the “gender exclusivity” of it. Seriously?! I’m not going to get on a feminist soap box or anything, but I hope that as he watched his wife and daughter today (he did) that perhaps he saw the value in bringing together women of all shapes, sizes, ages, ethnicities to do something as simple as running. As my Mom reminded me, “we weren’t allowed to do this when I was in school”. I believe that as the amazing girls and women ran today, we kicked that notion to the curb.
I invite that gentleman to view the Olympic sport list so he can realize the vast differences in competition that still exists between men’s and women’s sports. I’m searching for a sport in which I can compete at the Olympic level (just so I can get the tattoo!) and found that kayaking, canoeing and shooting present very different events and distances. Totally unfair.