Set your own pace
Written by Joanne Oosvteen
Published in Halifax News Net
Sole Sisters all-women 5K race to be held in Dartmouth Crossing.
The first ever all-women's 5K race to be held on this side of the harbour will take place in Dartmouth Crossing on June 9.
But in this race, runners will be encouraged to leave their watches at home.
The event will be all about having a good time, celebrating the strength of female runners, the friendships that have developed and the sheer joy of being active.
"In an effort to make the Sole Sisters 5K the most inclusive and celebratory event possible, we want you to leave your watches at home. Make this your best run ever, but don't base your opinion on what you see on a clock, " said Stacy Chesnutt, whose company United By Running is hosting the race. "We aren't timing this run and we don't want you to either."
Chesnutt's business partner and co-race director is Michelle Kempton. She said she first got the idea for a non-timed race after taking part in an event in the Valley last year.
"It was so much fun to be able to run with people you don't normally run with," said Kempton. "Enjoy the race at whatever pace feels comfortable and cross the finish line with your friends. What could be better?"
That sounds like a good plan, said born again Dartmouth runner Tory Greff. The 40-year-old said an all women event intrigues her.
"A distance like 5K is doable for busy women, especially for those with kids," she said. "Five-K's are awesome and the training can be done in manageable chunks of time."
Female runners and walkers of all ages, shapes and abilities will gather at the Ampitheatre at Dartmouth Crossing before the run.
The Dartmouth Crossing site was chosen for its nice wide roads, flat route and central location.
They will then walk together up to the starting line.
And that is when the real fun begins, said Greff.
"It will be amazing to see all the fun sights along the route, listen to the music and be catered to by the men," she said.
Men may not be welcome to run in the Sole Sisters race, but they are encouraged to come out and cheer, support, line the route and stand in awe at the sea of 1,000 women who will be running by them.
Greff said it will be interesting to have men as cabana boys giving out water, instead of cheering them on as they sprint across the finish line first.
"It is our turn," she said.
Meryl Cook, 55, is another runner who will be lacing up her sneaks to run on June 9.
The Dartmouth homeopath has overcome many health challenges over the past six years and says running has been key to her getting better.
"It feels good to be a middle aged woman who can run, even though I am not a fast runner," she said. "Since I joined Heart and Sole I have been encouraged to keep going and to progress at my own pace."
Cook says that is another reason why women should train and run in this event in June.
"I have made some great friendships through running," she said. "Too often women compete for everything from jobs, to men to the best times in races. At Sole Sisters it will be all about supporting one another, not competing."
The race directors have many surprises for the participants,along with the requisite designer race T-Shirt and awesome medal.
And there will definitely be chocolate, too.
Kempton and Chesnutt have worked side by side with HRP to ensure this route is both safe and fun.
And both Greff and Cook say they are looking forward to the run being held in the evening.
"We can stick around after the race and have a few laughs," said Greff. "We can even make it into a whole girl's night if we want."
Kempton said they chose an evening run time so everyone will stay for the post race celebration where participants will be pampered.
At the race kit pickup there will be experts available to educate female runners on issues like safety, GPS, stretching, nutrition and running bras.
"This run will have everything a woman could want," said Greff.
To register for the Sole Sisters Run, go to www.solesistersrace.com
For info on how to register for a running clinic to get ready for Sole Sisters, or other races, go to firstname.lastname@example.org