Women at the city of running
In nearly every running event the number of women taking part has increased. In recent years there has been an explosion in what once was an almost exclusively male domain. Now at any marathon or half marathon you will see plenty of women pounding the streets, so what is it that is driving women to enter competitions?
Running has become a daily feature of many people’s lives, in any major European city you will see streets and parks full of men and women in sports gear getting in a few kilometers in the morning or in the evening. Running is not a fad or a fashion, running is a healthy lifestyle choice that not only has a positive influence on your physical health but also in many other areas of your life. Running is a fitness activity that can be adapted to any timetable and personal situation: “I suppose that as you run more you really realize the positive effect it has on you, not only for fitness but for your health in general. Also, running let’s you go at your own pace and you don’t need a fixed timetable. And this is really important when you have a family.” says Almudena Vivó, a recent convert to the world of running, who spoke to us about her motivations for running.
We live in a world where running seems to be everywhere, images of professional female athletes fill the newspapers and every marathon now has a major female amatuer and pro presence. Let us not forget that only 5 decades ago women were banned from running in events. Thanks to women like Bobbie Gibb (First woman to run the Boston Marathon) and Katherine Switzer (First woman to run Boston Marathon as an official registered runner) perceptions were changed and the world of running gradually started to accept more and more women competitors in long distance events.
Valencia and the Trinidad Alfonso Foundation actively encourage women runners to compete. Valencia like many marathons has experienced an upswell in women runners that started gradually but has increased exponentially over the last few years; to the point that where we hope to see equal numbers of men and women running in the next few years. It is our sincerest wish that those women who watch the Valencia marathon, half marathon and 10k as spectators are inspired by the women that run by them and the groups of women that band together and run as a group.
In the last edition of the Trinidad Alfonso Valencia Marathon over 1,300 women runners competed, in the Trinidad Alfonso Valencia Half Marathon over 1,800 women runners took part. These are figures that we could only have imagined a few years ago. “There’s still a lot to do to get the kind of numbers of women that events in some other countries get. And we have to continue to do women-centric promotions and communication to get women involved in running and sport in general”. This is what Mara Aparicio had to tell us from the website nosotrasdeportistas.com. Mara and her team are the organizers of the female 10K in Valencia and one of the major sources for locally promoting women in sport. “In Valencia we have seen a good evolution in recent years. When we started the website and forming running groups there were hardly any women that ran in groups. Now there are loads of running groups (female and mixed) and groups of 6, 8, 10 women that go out and run together”
As we all know, once you slip on your running shoes and hit the streets it’s pretty easy to get hooked whether you are a man or a woman. People’s passion for running is contagious, every month new running groups are formed and new people join groups or running clubs. A great example of women being welcomed into these once male dominated clubs and groups is SD Correcaminos (Roadrunners Athletic Club). Correcaminos is the most well known of all the running clubs in Valencia, they are also the organizers of the marathon and half marathon in Valencia. If you go to the River Park in Valencia in the evening you will easily be able to locate the correcaminos runners in their bright yellow t-shirts running in groups and taking part in training sessions. Of the 631 members, 131 are female; a number that has steadily grown and will continue to grow.
If you want to run in a group or go lone wolf, one thing is clear; runners always want to push and get their goals: “In my case running is a way to keep fit, also I give myself goals that I have to achieve. The important thing is that running helps me to disconnect from day to day stuff. If everything goes well and I feel up for it I will sign myself up for the Valencia Half Marathon” says Almudena Vivó who waves us goodbye and continues her run in the River Park that glides through the centre of Valencia. There’s no time to lose and not a stride to miss…