Sexism in Running


What's the biggest problem that women face when running a race these days? You guessed it! Not enough time for shopping! And how do you fit in yoga class, girltalk, and cocktails while you are training? Who has the time, amiright Ladies? Well, move over stuffy co-ed marathons--there's a new girl in town!

Actual text for the Zooma Women's Half-Marathon email I received this morning:

Run the newest women's fitness event in Chicago! Join us for a full weekend of serious racing and serious celebration-including sponsored cocktail hours, yoga, and fun times with running friends.

A half marathon and 10K start and finish in scenic Montrose Harbor, with views of the Chicago skyline. A scenic and flat course will give you a tour of the lakefront. After the finish line, there's serious celebration with wine, massage, live music, shopping and fun.

Seriously, you guys! That event MUST be some serious fun, since they seriously used the word serious 3 times to describe it. OMG!!!


Ok, so I have to admit that I've been thinking about running a half-marathon later this summer, since I will have run 10 miles in May, and I have been considering doing a women's event and triathlon instead of the Chicago triathlon this year. I am the target market for this event--but for some reason, this ad really got under my skin this morning. The things that appeal to me about a women-only event are not stereotypes like shopping, cocktails, yoga and girlfriends. It is because, in my experience, women are more supportive of each other in a competition environment. I've now done 4 triathlons, and in all of them, I've been knocked in the head and swum over by men and been passed by in the bike and run without so much as a glance from the male competitors. Whereas, with the women, we check in with each other, especially in the swim to make sure everyone is ok and to offer encouragement, and in the bike or the run, we talk to each other, make jokes, and tell each other to keep going. It is an amazing communal experience.

But here's the deal. That doesn't make us any less of an athlete than our male counterparts. Women are badass athletes.  I love the feeling of doing something really freaking hard and out of my comfort zone. I mean, I used to box, for goodness sake. And while, yes, I love my girlfriends and frequently meet them out for cocktails, I don't like being reduced to a stereotype to get me to sign up for a race. So instead of perpetuating a cliche, I wish that this event had been promoting the amazing power of women. Because that will always make me sign up more than the promise of a finishers necklace and a glass of cheap wine.