Racing has come a long way since the days when women were being told that running the marathon would cause your uterus to fall out. And with women now making up 54% of all race registrations in the US, according to RunSignup’s 2022 RaceTrends report, you’d think there’d be very little holding women back from racing in this third decade of the 21st century.
That, however, is not the reality for most women out there, according to today’s guest, SheRACES founder and GB team ultrarunner, Sophie Power. Whether it’s images of uniformly male start lines, lack of reasonable pregnancy deferral policies or unnecessarily aggressive race cut-off times, races still - knowingly or unknowingly - put up more visible and invisible barriers for female athletes than they should - or realize. And that means fewer women at start lines, fewer women signing up for races and fewer women thinking they belong in the world of endurance sports racing.
So what are those barriers holding women back and what can race directors do to remove them?
Well, the good news is we have a fairly good grasp of the former and some very easy fixes for the latter that in many cases require only a little thoughtfulness and little to no extra cost. Things like providing basic sanitary products for female athletes at toilet facilities and aid stations or trying harder to give female competitions the attention they deserve and female race finishers the properly fitting finisher shirt they have paid for. Simple things, in other words, that when implemented and communicated right can make female athletes feel more comfortable and more welcome in races.
In this episode:
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