Eighteen years ago, Anne Audain started what has become one of the largest ALL FEMALE 5ks in the United States. Based on the yearly turnout, this woman was absolutely on to something.
Anne is an incredible runner and competitor and its her duty to tell her story but I want to share with you the impact on this town.
I used to participate way back in the day before moving to the East Coast. Now that I am living in Boise again, I was signed up and participating this past Saturday with my mom, Kerree, my niece Olivia, my mom's friend Nancy and some of her friends. The Woman's Fitness Celebration is an annual 5k walk/run/stroll from gorgeous downtown Boise up to the Train Depot, then back down into town, finishing at Ann Morrison Park. Ultimately, it is THE local celebration of women!!
The race starts at 8:30 am but the celebrating starts well before then. In the week leading up to the 5k, there are a few events including the Women's Show which runs three days prior to the 5k. This is a show of vendors, local talent, and where you pick up your t-shirt, race bibs and oodles of samples. (I actually bought my sister and I our first bondibands at the Women's Show this year and I love them!)
Due to the large number of participants, we were literally up before the rooster crowed on Saturday morning and were downtown at 6:30 am. You know we had to be right at the front of our purple wave. There were already people down there when we arrived and the flow of participants arriving at the starting points was steady. As everyone arrived, there was music full of energy to get everyone pumped up, and plenty of quirky costumes. Even those who are considered "local celebrities" take part and participate with passion. Getting the crowd of women pumped up was not a difficult task, as you could feel the energy and excitement throughout the crowd. (My niece may have been an exception - waking that sixteen year old up that early can be difficult!) The women in this town LOVE this event. (I tried to take decent pictures but we were crammed in there like sardines.)
I couldn't get good pictures of some of the crazy outfits, but how cute are these two?
Camera men and photo journalists were all over the place on the ground and towering above us.
There were two men who were helping to host and entertain the crowd prior to the race. They were decked out in ORANGE and BLUE, OBVIOUSLY since ESPN's GAME DAY was in town to broadcast live from the stadium and cover the BSU v. Oregon game later on that day. These two guys even engaged us in the infamous "Boise"..."State" stadium chant. The entire town was gearing up for the much hyped game. I wasn't kidding when I told you this town is painted blue and orange during college football season! Need I tell you BSU won? YES they did, they are on FIRE! (Go Orange Go Big Blue - Fight, Fight - BSU!)
The crowd was dancing and singing and everyone was having a great time. After the National Anthem, a few female military personnel spoke and then the doves were released and the race waves got started.
The Women's Fitness Celebration is an event for all ages, all fitness levels, and all ability levels of women. First there was the wheelchair wave, then the elite runner and casual runner wave.
Next was the walking blue wave followed by our walking purple wave (blue won the coin toss to go first). After us, there was the stroller wave. Normally, this is the type of event Kerree and I would run, however since we were celebrating with my mom and niece and my mom's friends, we opted to walk this one. We run 5k on a regular basis anyway.
And we were off!! Look at the mass of women ahead of us.....
What is that guy in the black shirt doing? Hopefully he is walking with a women he loves.
And the mass of women behind us as we neared the Train Depot.
That's the capital building with the dome in the distance - we started one block up from there.
Since I knew ahead of time that my sister and her children would be coming up for the weekend so she and my niece could participate, a few weeks ago I planted the word in both my nephews' ears about volunteering for this "all female" event. It actually resonated with them and there they were at the Train Depot volunteering, making me a proud Auntie. (I know the fact that it was an all female event lured them in, but hey whatever works.) LOOK how gorgeous they are!
Daniel (above) and Brandon (below).
As we exited the Train Depot, the Boise Highlanders were there playing for the participants.
Once we left through the Train Depot and surrounding neighborhood, we were heading down hill on the home stretch into the park. The very final stretch is where participants encounter the fun and often hilarious Tuxedo Row.
This is where volunteering men dress in shorts and tuxedo jackets and stand on the edge of the course encouraging the women as they near the finish line.
And there is the finish line.
Once we crossed the finish line there was the party in the park. We were provided with breakfast which consisted of half a bagel, plain yogurt and berries, an apple, a milk, string cheese, a cookie and an ice cream bar (I gave my cookie away but I ate my creamsicle - don't worry I ran just under six miles the next morning). There were more vendor booths and live music and we hung around for a while before we headed over to the historical museum for the Museum Comes To Life (post pending).
The annual Women's Fitness Celebration is a fabulous movement to get women aware of themselves and their fitness. While most American women struggle with fitness and their weight, this is a great event to draw attention to the obesity epidemic and lack of health and wellness education in America. What I would like to see is more of an emphasis on how 3.1 miles once a year is NO WHERE NEAR ENOUGH. Its not enough to walk 3.1 miles twice a year or four times a year. Its not enough once a month or once a week. A couple times a week minimum is satisfactory. We all must be and stay ACTIVE regularly to take care of ourselves. This event is a step in the right direction. And we all had fun, even the volunteers!
Take care of yourself, love yourself, and celebrate YOU - no matter your age or sex.
As the brilliant Cavakia says, "Remember to workout today. You are as important as anything on your to-do list."