The all female race format

IMG 2531 225x300 The all female race formatWe have three IronGirl (all female) franchise races here in our area, two sprint triathlons and one half marathon. I was talking about the half marathon with my son the other day (I just might be racing it) and he asked me why it was only for girls. “If only girls can race IronGirl, shouldn’t IronMan be just for guys?” he wanted to know. Um, no answer to that.

I get the whole concept–some women, beginners in particular, are going to feel more comfortable in an all-female environment. Less pressure, perhaps more support from their fellow athletes, more camaraderie. But I don’t know. The other part of me feels like it kind of sets us back. Why DO we need our own show? We can hang with the guys any day, can’t we?

I’ve raced both ways and like both race formats. There’s something fun about getting a bunch of girls together and having our own race. But I also like racing with guys, and I don’t feel any less supported or intimidated by these events. No guy has made me feel inadequate or nervous out on a course. Do some of them get annoyed if you pass them on a bike and continually challenge you back and forth for a full 25 miles in an Olympic distance race? Ahem, yes. But that’s just amusing, not nerve-wracking.

Clearly there’s a market for these all-female events. The Disney princess races fill up in no time; the IronGirl sprint triathlon here has sold out in a day more often than not. Heck, hundreds of women shelled out $165 to run the Nike Women’s Half in DC this weekend (sorry, I will never pay that for a half!). Racing is big business these days and organizers are savvy in how to bring in the numbers.

In the end, I guess I’m just torn about whether or not I think there’s a need for all-female formats. Do they truly serve the purpose of bringing females into endurance sports? And how many of those women then gain enough confidence to go on and compete in races with both genders? It would be interesting to know. I’ll remain fairly neutral on the topic for now, but I’d love to hear people’s thoughts and arguments for and against these types of races.

Weigh in, people! 

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  1. I’m signed up and I’m supposed to race this weekend, but I really just don’t think I can at this point in time…haven’t run since Boston and my heart’s just not in it.

    Although it did sound like a pretty fun race! Best of luck if you end up doing it.
    Katherine @ Neon Blonde Runner recently posted..Boston Marathon from My PerspectiveMy Profile

  2. Hmmm… I like the idea of woman power for sure, but I wonder how people would react to a men’s only race? I also think it’s just too funny how men react when they get “chicked” that I wouldn’t want to give up that entertainment :)
    GreenGirlRunning recently posted..The Best Grain-Free Brownie!My Profile

  3. What a great question! I have 2 brothers, a dad that loves me, a good husband and 2 boys (13 and 11). I don’t know how I’d answer that question. However, to be quite frank, I wouldn’t necessarily WANT to be involved in a race that was for just women. I did run my first half in the Ladies’ Speedstick Half Marathon… but Glenn ran, too! We’re PRO women around here. I don’t have an answer, but I TOTALLY understand the issue.
    Stephanie@nowirun.com recently posted..I’m Like a Watermelon!My Profile

  4. People are so funny about races. I can tell that some women get a kick out of passing guys. In a marathon, I was passed by this one lady in Hokas. She’d been right behind me for a while. I tried to initiate a conversation about her shoes, but she ignored me. In a half marathon, I was passed by this younger girl who had been near me for several miles. She looked back at me like “ha ha, what do you think of that?” I just smiled. I’m just racing against myself. Guys are the worst, though. I hate those dudes who, as soon as they pass you, have to get right smack in front of you to show they beat you or something. It’s very satisfying to pass these people later.

    • Ha! Bob, it’s funny only because some guys are so annoyed when they get passed by a woman. (If they were all zen like you it wouldn’t be as entertaining for me to pass them and then we could all be our normal competitive selves — I don’t like being passed, full stop. Whattt.)

      I reckon I’ve been running long enough that women’s-only races don’t really do anything for me in terms of encouraging and building confidence. If it encourages some women to get out and run, sure, that’s fantastic. I’m happy to pay for and enter a well-organised race regardless of whether it’s women-only or not (and that’s what’s more important anyway – is it the right length, is the route safe with no hazards, etc).
      But I REALLY don’t like being talked down to or given pats on the head, or race organisers assuming that I need male pacers, pretty race bling, sparkly sh*t, tiaras or firemen to do my best.

      • What’s really funny about it is that I don’t know this person, and they don’t know me. Nobody likes being passed, but I know for sure that neither of us is going to be anywhere close to the front of the pack, so what does it matter that at this particular moment, someone passed someone else? I know it’s human nature, but I’m sure it would help many people enjoy the experience more, and maybe run better, if they would just calm down. Like I said, I end up passing a lot of these people later.

        • Bob’s point really needs to be reinforced. I’ve heard a lot of negative feedback from women who feel that men react badly to getting ‘chicked’. But here we have it – nobody likes getting passed regardless of gender (it reminds us we’re not as fast as all that), especially if there’s obnoxious behaviour that goes with it. I’m sure there’s sexism out there in endurance sports, but not as widespread as some accusations go. I believe most men are like me… we know lots of people are faster than us – some are older, some are younger, some are men, some are women… and we take it in stride (pun intended).
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  5. I enjoy both too! I’m interested to see how Divas is this weekend. Sometimes I think its a marketing ploy then other times think it helps girls feel empowered and comfortable.
    Kat recently posted..A night with JillianMy Profile

  6. Try putting on an all Male race… You will be called all sorts of names. So many woman think they are equal to men!!! But they aren’t Men and Women are different! Not Equal, Not better, Just different… If you want to be equal, then why at races must there be 1st Man and then 1st Woman prizes? Why not just first place!!!

    Now because Men and Women are different, I think it is great that women get a couple of races a year where they can come together as women and race each other without guys trying to show who is faster (because most of them aren’t!)

    PS i love watching women only races!!!
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  7. What would happen if there were ‘men only’ races? People would flip out – discrimination! I’ve only done one women’s only race and had to laugh that there were tampons outside the port-a-potties – definitely don’t see that very often! It was fun but I also think a mixed field is fun too. It seems like there’s always more women than men in those races anyway.
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  8. For single-anything events/benefits/advantages, I always use the flip test — if the opposite were being held, would people be okay with it? Most people don’t like being discriminated against.
    Kovas – Midwest Multisport Life recently posted..Destination Races, Dangers of Obstacle RacingMy Profile

  9. The fact that it’s an all women race is never the draw for me I guess. Dates, distance and logistics are more important to me when choosing a race. I do think women’s races have less of on intimidation factor for newer athletes. I reality men are more than welcome to run women’s races (I think). The all-women concept is most likely a marketing tool that brands can get behind.
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  10. I am not a fan of women’s-only races, primarily because they are discriminatory but also because I find the whole pink/sparkly/you-go-girl thing annoying and infantilizing towards women.
    But, they do sell out and make money so there must be an appeal for many people.

  11. I think having a place where women can feel safe and do their thing without feeling self conscious. Plus an all women event has a totally different vibe. I like the idea.
    Pamela Hernandez recently posted..How to Become an Early BirdMy Profile

  12. Several of my friends are doing Iron Girl this weekend and a few others the NWM. I kind of wish I was, but only to run with them. I don’t have much interest in women-only races. I like the idea of it more for a triathlon than a half marathon. I ran the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler earlier this month and there were approximately 3000 more female runners than male runners. For the Annapolis Half in December, there are were 2661 runners and approximately 56% of them were female and the company that provided the premium is known for their maternity exercise wear.
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  13. If I had to pick a side, it would be I don’t care. LOL. No, actually, like you, I don’t have a strong stance; I do think these women-only events are very heavy on the marketing and for that reason I alone I wouldn’t run one. I’m kind of over being constantly pushed to buy things at races! I’m also not a big fan of the glitter-skirt, fancy headband, shoes match my compression socks, champagne at the finish kind of girly event these races veer toward. It’s silly to me. I’m never pretty when I’m racing, keep your feather boa!
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  14. I’ve never quite understood the draw to a women’s only race myself, but I’m a guy, so that’s obviously part of it. I agree with some of the previous comments though, that if we were to start a men’s only race series, the sexist/discrimination card would be pulled almost instantly.
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  15. I think that there is a market for all-female races, but not a NEED. Race “producers” know what’s up when it comes to marketing schemes and making lots of money…all female races, Rock n Roll races, etc. Create a buzz and see who will fall for the hype.

    I am an old school type of person/runner, so these “bright lights” races don’t appeal to me at all.

  16. teamroll put on two triathlon 101 clinics this spring, one was co-ed, one was women only. One particular woman on my team was very vocal that the men from the team was not allowed to come to the clinic, at all, not to even stand in the back and watch and support the team and the clinic. She said that women act differently with men around, dont ask the same questions.
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  17. I’ll be running Nike Woman’s 1/2 this weekend. FYI, they let me in.

  18. I’ve never done an all-women race before, partially because I don’t live in a big metro area so there aren’t many close by. I do understand the appeal for women starting out and who are intimidated by mixed races. But I like your question about whether these races truly encourage women to continue racing. I always get a kick out competing with the boys in triathlons. I often catch men in the water, get passed on the bike, and then pick a few of them off in the run. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t give me a bit of satisfaction!
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..Race Recap: Laurel Run AscentMy Profile

  19. It is an interesting topic. Is there such a thing as an all male event? no. While I am not against all female events, I do not in any way mind racing with men. I have found the men of our sport to be equally as supportive as the women.
    LisaM@RunWiki recently posted..On the Boston tragedy… I guessMy Profile

  20. I’m doing the Nike Women’s Half this weekend (college student discount!) and am not sure what to think about this topic. I swam on a coed team and am not intimidated by guys. I actually think girls can be more intimidating but maybe that’s the high schooler/college student in me. I chose to do this race because of it’s location, time of year and size. I do agree that by having all women events we are almost setting ourselves up. We don’t need to race by ourselves. I’ll report back after this weekend if my opinions are changed by the race
    Shannon @ Mon Amour recently posted..Nike Women’s Half Marathon GoalsMy Profile

  21. I’m on the fence on these things. I totally get why some women feel more comfortable doing the women’s only races since it can be less competitive, but truth be told there are a lot of competitive women who do them. I did a sprint tri last year in this type of format and Michellie Jones was running it – NBD ;) As someone who gets passed by lots of men and who passes lots of them, I actually like the whole environment of a dual-gender race…I think it makes it more fun. But to each his or her own…
    Sheila recently posted..True Confession Thursday: Short Shorts & Magic MikeMy Profile

  22. I am on the fence about this. I think it is great if women only races attract women that may not ever run a regular race. However, I have never felt that way or had an issue with men in a race (other than a women only sprint tri that I did, I was happy to not have men in the pool thrashing over me). Whatever gets people motivated to be active I am all for.
    Beth @ Miles and Trials recently posted..Boston Strong – How to HelpMy Profile

  23. Interesting. I’ve never done an all female race, and never really looked for one. Oh wait, that’s not true- the half I did in the fall was a TriGirl half, just women. But I chose it because of timing, and honestly prefer the men for a slightly larger race. That one in particular was too small- I ran alone for most of the race. But it does seem like many women are drawn to them, so if it encourages more women to do a race, it’s a good thing!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..Good news, Esprit 10k and Athleta GiveawayMy Profile

  24. I have ran two all female half marathons before. They have been fun, but a little bit on the cheesy side. I personally don’t mind running and with men because I am a competitive person and not shy when it comes to running because I feel comfortable doing it. Crossfit on the the other hand is a whole other story. I can’t imagine going to a box with men! I love my all female environment. I guess maybe that is how some women view running?
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  25. I agree that I am torn. We have the iron girl duathlon here and it is one of my favorite events, but i do many other events that are not all female and like them too. Maybe it’s a favorite because of the womenly colored race shirts :)

  26. I’ve participated in all women’s races and I agree with Pamela – there’s just a different vibe that is a nice change of pace. While I’m equally comfortable in both environments, I do think for some women they are more comfortable and feel supported in an all-women’s race. For me it’s always first and foremost about the quality of the race experience – I can do without the boas, tiaras and sparkle!
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  27. Not all women’s races are filled with pink boas and sparkly tutus. Some women’s only races were started to empower women to get moving and the number of women runners, especially in half marathons, has more than doubled over the years. Women only races do welcome men to participate – I don’t know of any that won’t allow it – but men are not awarded for placing. I know of one series that encourages men to come out with their partners, family members, friends, etc to support their ladies. I think both races are acceptable – it’s just your personal preference. I absolutely love getting my girlfriends together for the weekend (away from the husband and kids!) and running a race together. There is nothing like it.

  28. At the very front of any competitive race, it is all male. On the other end of the spectrum from the beginners you mention, elite and subelite and age group competitive women rarely get a chance to race only each other on the roads. It can be a nice treat in that regard. I have never done a women only road race and from what I can tell most of them seem to market themselves as “pink races” ,meaning they’re the race equivalent of a pink capped body glide – the same product with a simple packaging redesign to sell more. This idea that women need a differently packaged product, rather than marketing them as a place for women to actually compete against other women annoys me. I think racing only women is something special that I might consider paying for. Otherwise, I don’t care about the pink race shirts :)
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  29. I think they’re fun and like that they’re something a little different, like getting necklaces instead of another finishers medal.

    I’ve only done one women’s half marathon, but there were a about a dozen men who ran it as well. Of course a man was the overall winner. I thought it was kinda of funny. Like really dude, way to dominate a women’s race, lol.
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  30. I do think that beginners might feel more comfortable trying a race if it’s only for women. Me, on the other hand prefer races with men. The women’s only races I have found are not as competitive, which again, is maybe better for the beginner. If I am racing, I want to compete, and passing guys is so much fun;)

    I did the Danskin Tri last year and women were walking and chatting during the running part. Really?! I couldn’t believe it! That part drove me crazy.
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  31. I don’t think I’m a big fan of “just for women” races. I just don’t really like the idea of excluding anyone probably because I wouldn’t want to be the one excluded.
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  32. On one hand, I like the idea of a all-female race. Basically, my only reason is the swag seems better. The shirts are usually women’s cut and the Nike half gives out Tiffany’s jewelry, right? When it comes to unisex stuff, it seems like what that really means is women can deal with men’s stuff.
    However, if there was an all male race where girls were excluded, I’m sure I’d feministly freak out. So, it doesn’t seem right.
    Maybe if more race directors were women, considerations would be different?
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  33. I’ve had this conversations lots of times with my boyfriend, who is also a runner. I agree that it’s discriminatory and I don’t see a point in women’s only events personally — I’ve never felt uncomfortable racing with men. But if there are women out there who feel more comfortable in a women’s only race, then it serves a good purpose. I hate the marketing aspect, however. Example: See Jane Run’s event motto, “I run for champagne and chocolate” makes me so angry. It totally trivializes women runners.

    That said, I’m running an all women’s trail race this summer called the Skirt N Dirt — mostly because it’s local and I was looking for a 25-30K trail race, not because it’s all female.
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  34. I love this debate. And I think women only races TOTALLY out of line! If there was a men’s only race, it would be totally unacceptable. It should work both ways. And I agree with Jen that the pinkness is TOTALLY out of line. The WORST is the handsome firemen handing out necklaces. It makes me crawl!

    Not stroppy at all, me!

    • LOL! You’re so stroppy, Cathryn.

      Your line about the firemen made me chuckle, because I also think that’s creepy. What would we think if an all-men’s race had bikini clad models at the end? However — I do have to say I’m looking forward to a marine giving me a medal at the Marine Corps Marathon. I guess I’m just a hypocrite! ;)
      Jen recently posted..Gear review: Altra SuperiorMy Profile

  35. For me, it’s a comfort thing. I’ve run both formats and like them both, but since I’ve been a little out of shape, and not comfortable with my running pace, I feel like running with a group of women (many who may feel the same as I do) is like a warm cuddly blanket. My security blanket, if you will. But I’ve done some other runs here, too. Clyde’s is always a nice 10K. Good mix and good food.

    I will admit that I hate the marketing aspect of it. It’s like “I am woman, here me roar!” (so damn cheesy). But, the events themselves are nice and full of camaraderie, which I do enjoy.
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  36. Just since no one’s mentioned it yet, I thought I’d bring up the IAAF ruling that women’s world records now must be run in women-only, not mixed, races.
    I’ve never done a women’s-only race, or really looked into doing one, but while I think it might be fun to race (and I use that term loosely — I’m a back-of-the-packer) with just other women, I totally agree with the comments above that object to the champagne-and-chocolate, pink-boa-and-glitter, patronizing-women’s-running marketing approaches. On the other hand, I probably wouldn’t object if someone handed me a Tiffany’s necklace at the finish.
    I HAVE done the Race to Finish Breast Cancer a number of times, though, and since breast cancer predominantly affects women, there seems to be an acknowledgement of (and catering to) women runners that isn’t often seen at other mixed races. It’s as if the women runners are seen as the “normative” group, and men are the “other” (as opposed to most mixed events where, as Maggie pointed out above, unisex basically means women deal with men’s stuff). It makes a nice change!

  37. I’ve had a draft of a post about this in my blogger for months now. I still cant wrap my head around it. I see both sides of this, and my post is very lengthy and actually emotional. I take it to heart when people are sexist and a big part of me feels like all-womens races are a set back for the female gender. But I do understand the concept of giving us our own time and creating a more “women friendly” environment. Maybe I will look over that post this weekend and finish it soon. hmm.
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  38. The problem I have with Women’s only races (and fitness clubs) is it makes it feel like I’m (as a man) a problem that exists in the industry. I don’t mind (or rather, I like) racing with all kinds of people and I don’t harrass anybody, so why do I need to be fenced off from it. It alienates, I’m actually pretty apprehensive about contributing to this conversation or any other conversations about ‘women-only’ events… who knows if my opinion is even welcome?
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  39. I’ve run both ways and like you I’m pretty neutral on both. I feel sometimes, having men in a race pushes me a little harder, but in most all women’s race, I place higher. I think you’re right on the whole – less intimidating/ she-power thought.
    Also, I think a lot of it has to do with the marketing/appeal – men(most) aren’t really privy to glitter,feathers, and shades of pink, … women(princesses everywhere) jump on it like white on rice.
    And like you- I won’t ever pay more than $85ish for a half. Just.aint.happening.
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  40. I actually signed up for IronGirl Sandy Hook, NJ for September – it’ll be my first triathlon and first “female only” event. I’m not sure how I feel. I think I’m looking forward to it as a first tri race but more because I hear that it’s ‘beginner’ friendly and it looks pretty – than anything else. I can see some women preferring the “sister-hood” vibe perhaps? Personally I wouldn’t sign up for a women only foot race but I am looking forward to this tri.
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  41. Hmmm, you know, I have yet to try an “all female” race and never really consider it although I might get down to the Disney one of these days and do something princess. Most of my races I have to chose based on expense and location and since I live in Indiana, we have SO MANY that I can get to within a couple hours drive plus all of the ones in Indy itself, so I choose based on location rather than gender. We do have a woman’s half marathon in Indy but it is in the month of August (?!?!?) and the sweltering humid heat of Indiana at that time of year doesn’t seem appealing. Honestly, I actually enjoy having the men on the courses. Sometimes too much ‘estrogen’ can be a bit much, I like a balance :)
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  42. Such an interesting topic, funny how I’ve never actually given this much thought but now you have me wondering. Personally I don’t have any interest in participating in any female-only events, but they seem so popular there’s obviously a draw to them. So I guess my take away is they don’t really bother me but if there are ladies out there that enjoy them then what’s the harm?

  43. I’m running my first half this summer and it is a ‘women-focused’ race, but its not why I chose it. I guess I will see if it is any different than other races I’ve done. But I do understand that it is mostly a marketing ploy. In my area there is a men’s only race called ‘Boys night out’. I’m fine with that too, I don’t feel left out.
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  44. We have some all women events in Toronto. When I entered the first time (5K) I thought why do we need this. But then when I started running and I could see the leader (sort of) and was not surrounded by men it was actually kind of fun. Just running against women was a totally different dynamic. I like both just fine, but there’s nothing like an all women event to really make it feel competitive. Also with the rules around world records, they may be more necessary for the elites!
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  45. All I know is that guys kept girls from doing marathons until what 1970? That is ridiculous. So girls can do whatever they want with races. And guys can technically register anyways for girls races if they want to, because otherwise the race would be illegal gender segregation.
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  46. I’m torn on this one. I’ve done some all-female triathlons and they definitely feel more mellow and relaxed to me, so I understand the reasoning. However, I agree that it sets us back and I suspect people would raise hell if all-male races were introduced. So…..I’ve got nothing :)
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  47. I don’t think they’re needed but like you said there’s a market for them so people put races like this on. I also take issue with it being iron girl and not iron woman but that’s a whole another conversation
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  48. I’m with you. I love the all girls fun, but really only with run races. It kinda get too “emotional” with triathlon. LOL! I grew up with three brothers though.
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  49. I’m torn on this too. I’ve only done one female only race – the NYRR Mini 10k in June in Central Park and while I liked it, I didn’t actually feel any different during the race. What I DID like, however, was that I was able to start MUCH further ahead then I am used to – which made the first mile or so much, much easier. When there are men around, I am further back =) Honestly though, I am not all about the ra-ra of a female race. I am doing the iron girl tri in Sep – more b/c it’s a nearby sprint that I wanted to try – not really b/c it’s a female only race. Interesting to read some of the comments here though…
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  50. I’ll join in with the others that can’t stand the pink/sparkly/glitter overload that surrounds a lot of the big races. I do find a lot of that demeaning. However, we have a local women’s 4-mile race and I LOVE it. It probably helps that our race is low-frills and not a pretty pink princess affair. I’ve been able to finish in the top 10 a couple of times and it was super cool to be at the front of the pack like that. In a mixed-race, you don’t get that same rockstar feeling.
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  51. I don’t think there’s a need for it. In my smaller running club, there aren’t a lot of women that run my pace, so I like having some competition with the guys :) That said, there is an all female race the week after my goal marathon in a couple weeks, it’ll be interesting to see how they compare.
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  52. My very first Half Marathon was an all-women’s race and honestly, that was part of the reason I signed up for it in the first place! (That and it was in Nashville) ;)
    I had such a great time and felt a sense of togetherness with the other women on the course… I LOVED it!!
    I have since done races with men and women and have loved them too … albeit I never really “compete” in the races unless you count competing against myself!
    But I really do feel like that all women’s race was a great first experience and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way! :)
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  53. Hmmm…I can see the fun side of it…kinda like a girls night out except in this case, it would be a race.
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  54. I kind of agree that I wonder why we need our own race series but my thing would be let guys enter if they want just know that everything is tailored to women (i.e. the Tiffany Co. Medals in SF Marathon).
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  55. I’ve only ever done one female only race and it was one of the most poorly organised races I’ve ever done. Walkers started in front of the runners – made for an impossible log jam at the start that really never recovered. Personally I have no problems with men. I do it with the squad so races don’t feel any different. But I live in a household full of men.
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  56. I’m currently running in two upcoming races that are only for women. I didn’t sign up for that reason though, I signed up because they benefit two organizations that I support. Girls on the Run (The spring 5K is just for girls/women but the fall 5K is for men and women.) and the See Jane Run half marathon in the fall (Team in Training event). I’m not opposed to women only races but it’s not something that I look for when deciding to run one.

    Interesting topic and interesting comments from your readers!
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  57. Interesting debate!
    I’ve never ran in a women’s only race, or even a race targeting women (except for track when I was younger).
    I’ve never really put much thought into them, other than it seems like fun for groups of women friends/training buddies to make a weekend of a women’s race.
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  58. In any event I’ve run, I have never ever felt intimidated or self conscious by the presence of men, in fact I have found them to be most encouraging and respectful. So I don’t really understand why a woman would feel any more comfortable in a women’s only race. The men can still see you!
    I’m not against women only events at all, my concern is that some women are hesitant to enter a unisex event. If you are – just sign up, grab some girlfriends if you must, and do it!
    Sherry recently posted..The Off-Road Skills Session I Forgot To Tell You AboutMy Profile

  59. I race women’s only races occasionally, in fact I’m doing a sprint next week and a half next month but they I think they are unnecessary. Maybe it’s a good stepping stone for beginners but I think that if women want to race, they will race. When I started racing there were no women’s only events and I didn’t sit around wishing there was one so I could get started on races. I decided I wanted to do a tri and I did it.
    I think that women are drawn to the pampering and catering that goes into a women’s race. Table cloths, better food, women’s specific shirts, pretty metals, flowers, ect. I think they are looking for a different type of experience and they probably are doing it with other girlfriends as a fun girls day.
    I will race no matter what and if the boys want a boys only race where they pee freely, where camo and no deodorant then more power to them! I will happily cheer them on! ;-)
    Missy recently posted..Banana-Walnut Chocolate Chunk CookiesMy Profile

  60. While I don’t give a hoot either way, lots of women do feel uncomfortable in co-ed races, especially when they are starting out. I believe that if that is what will get them to the start line, then it is a good thing. There is something nice about the sisterly feeling of an all women’s race. Our local breast cancer event finally added a men’s race too, so they can have their fun then cheer on the ladies. It works.

    I remember the first Race for the Cure that I did, about 15 years ago. It was in Temecula, and it was also the first time they had held the event there. I was still pretty fast back then, so I moved to the front. What was funny, was that with the exception of just one or two women like me, everyone held back, about 15 feet from the start line, like they didn’t want to get in anyone’s way. Not sure what that says about anything, but I remarked on it at the time and still remember whenever I line up at a women only race.
    Debbie @ Live from La Quinta recently posted..Functional Workout for Amazing Arms and Shoulders!My Profile

  61. I’m really indifferent. I think both race formats are fun. I can see how a women’s only race would be more appealing though to female runners especially if they are beginners.
    Kristen recently posted..And I’m not running again…My Profile

  62. That’s a really great question Amanda. I don’t think that I’ve run a women’s only race, except maybe a Komen 5K early on (but I actually don’t know if that was women’s only). I don’t think that it would be a particular draw per se but I would make the decision based more on the race itself – distance, schedule, if it seems like a good and fun race. That might be the only reason I would run the Nike Women’s Half although I wouldn’t pay that much to run it. I agree that it seems out of line to have women’s only races but I also know a lot of women who feel more comfortable and supported in that environment. Which would be one thing but the fact that brands and marketers are capitalizing it makes me feel more iffy.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Friday Round-Up: What defines you?My Profile

  63. I’ve actually never done an all female race, but I definitely am not opposed to it! I love to race…doesn’t matter who is in it! And it gives me a little boost if I get to pass some “boys” on the course. :)
    Kristin recently posted..What A Crazy WeekMy Profile

  64. I’m with you, these have always bothered me a little, since it would be an outrage if there was a men’s only race similar to these (that would be sexist, right?). But, if it gets a woman to race vs sitting at home, I’m in! :)

  65. I’m a bit torn as well, for pretty much the same reasons as everyone else:

    I don’t like the idea of Men-Only races. There was one in Singapore for awhile, and just this year the organizers opened it to women as well – although there was only one set of prizes given “gender-blind”, meaning that they all went to men. And I’ll admit that I don’t like how this feels.

    However, I *do* feel like there is a place for Women-Only races. I see this even more clearly in Singapore, where women are more reluctant/hesitant (than their American counterparts, in my opinion) to claim running as their sport. Providing a lower-stress situation in which to run and race may be part of the solution. Furthermore, in Singapore’s normally enormous races, it’s really awesome to have a less congested field, and the chance to move more freely – especially near the front of the pack.

    So…I’m conflicted. I guess I do have a double-standard, but it’s for a (good???) reason….?

    ^Even I don’t like this answer!
    Holly KN recently posted..Awesome/Less Awesome: Orlando to SingaporeMy Profile

  66. I think it’s interesting to look at this from the history of women’s racing. Until 1928 women were not allowed to run over 800m. And it wasn’t until the 1970s that rules started to change to allow women into marathons. There had been “all Men” races for many years before women were allowed to line up.
    Are we going backwards by having “all women races”? Most of them do actually allow men to sign up. I see the point of why a lot of people don’t like these races because they can seem trivializing, (sparkles, pink, chocolate, feather boas!) and sexist.
    I guess I like that they’re more welcoming to women who want to do this as their first experience, I’ve been running for so long that I kind of just like them as a unique experience.
    On another note, I despise the term and the idea of finding pleasure in “chicking”. You know what doesn’t matter? What the sex of the person you pass is. My thought is that women and men should be happy that they’re running strong, and women shouldn’t feel the need to call out the fact that they’re passing guys (the You Just Got Chicked Shirts make me ragey), if I had done that through the years I wouldn’t have many male running friends. And guess what, a lot of dudes appreciate and respect fast women.
    MegG recently posted..What to do when you haven’t trained for a half marathonMy Profile

  67. I’m running a female oriented event tomorrow, Diva Myrtle Beach Half Marathon. It’s a first for me. I’m going to miss not having men on the course. In all past races, it has been men that have said “good pace” “way to go” “come on, we’re almost there”. The men have offered the motivation and support. I also think the less inhibitions men have towards racing makes me feel more comfortable. But…like I said, tomorrow will be a new experience. Maybe my preference will change.
    Joanne recently posted..Agreeable Life and FOFF Quick Chicken TetrazziniMy Profile

  68. I feel stronger when I am passing boys, so lets keep them around! I have done two women only races and the champagne and the baby strollers and the girly vibe is totally NOT my style. However, it gives me a chance to come in at the top of the list overall, so there’s that.
    Travel Spot recently posted..Take Five: SnacksMy Profile

  69. It is a good question, I agree with you that we can definitely hang with the guys but it’s also important for some women to build up their confidence in an all female event like the irongirl half marathon.
    Maria recently posted..31 Day Fat Loss Cure Book – Is It Right For You?My Profile

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