Maybe it started with the Spice Girls, it definitely at least feels like it started with the Spice Girls. Nearly eighteen years ago this summer, Wannabee hit the US airwaves and girl power as we know it (or at least as nine-year-old me knew it) changed forever.
Fast forward to 2015 and we’ve encountered a whole new era of girl power. An era where two women have announced their intent to run for president, where George Clooney’s wife isn’t best known for her looks and where I can lift a bike over my head and get it on the bike rack without a boys help.
I realize one of those doesn’t fit with the others, but for this 5’2″ girl, an accomplishment it most certainly is, even if I’ll have bruises to show for weeks as a result of the multiple attempts it took…
Beyond politics and Hollywood, the tide of women in sports is also in a period of change, and I couldn’t be more proud to watch it unfold. From Arc’teryx #DefineFEMININE, to Ram Trucks “The Courage is Already Inside” and Nike Women’s #betterforit (which I had the upmost privilege of working on earlier this year), brands are setting a new standard for what it means to be a women in sport.
But inspiration doesn’t always come from personal bests or even the chills of YouTube. This weekend, I had the pleasure of joining Red Bull for the Wings for Life World Run, a road race held across the globe simultaneously in 35 countries where 100% of the proceeds benefit the Wings for Life foundation in search of a cure to spinal cord injuries.
The premise of the race itself is quite different than your typical race format. Runners start at the same time, but continue until they are caught by a catcher car that takes off thirty minutes after the runners begin. There is quite literally no finish line.
I myself have been a participant in countless races, but as I’ve rarely spent time on the sidelines, it was fascinating to listen stories from the finishers area and watch as hundreds of people crowded around to cheer on the final runners. The leading female runner in Sunrise, Florida was caught just past 32 miles. Thirty-two-freaking-miles, but even watching that unfold wasn’t the best part.
Volunteering at the event with the Red Bull team, I listened to countless stories of men and women sharing race records unheard of … to themselves. From I’ve never run further than a 5K in my entire life and I ran seven miles today, to my goal was six and I hung in there for twelve, it was quite incredible to see what someone is capable of without their even knowing it.
So get out there. Go for it. Try something new. And if you wind up with a a few bumps a bruises, (even if they are from trying to lift something twice your size over your head) hey, that’s an accomplishment too.