Iron Girl: A fantastic opportunity for female athletes of all abilities
Welcome to the 2007 RYKA Iron Girl National Women’s Event Series! This hugely popular series of running, triathlon, and duathlon events for women has announced its 2007 schedule.
Posted Monday, 22 January, 2007
Iron Girl strives to provide something for every woman. With 9 events nationwide, there is likely a location near you! If not, an Iron Girl event makes a great destination weekend with girlfriends. This is a fantastic opportunity for both novice and experienced female athletes. Whether it’s your first or 100th race, you’ll be happy you participated!
Iron Girl events have a great reputation for being well-run events with superb organization and scenic courses. Runner reviews have been highly enthusiastic! Some of the events will sell out, so be sure to register early!
Iron Girl is an organization that was founded in 2004 by the owners and organizers of Ironman Triathlon- The World Triathlon Corporation. The mission of Iron Girl is to empower women toward a healthy lifestyle. Iron Girl supports women in attaining personal satisfaction by aiming for and conquering personal goals. Iron Girl isn’t about a specific event, but rather about the spirit and attitude of being involved in sports.
In 2006, RYKA came aboard as the title sponsor of the series. RYKA is a women’s apparel and footwear company that shares Iron Girl’s goal of supporting women’s health and well-being through athleticism, and challenges that are both fun and satisfying.
Athletic opportunities such as this series are relatively new to women. When I was a girl growing up in the 60’s, the most running girls did was during elementary school recess. Even by the time I was in high school in the early 70’s, cross-country and track were still for boys only. I was athletic and played field hockey and tennis, but I was envious of the boys! I did not take up running until I was 30 years old. Iron Girl is to be commended for nurturing athleticism in girls and women by staging these greats events. The series attracts a wide range of ages and abilities, from the young girl running with her mother to the 76-year-old woman who completed the RYKA Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon last year, and the 78-year-old who ran the 10K event at the RYKA Iron Girl 10K and 5K in Clearwater, Fla.! What great role models! If they can do it, so can you!
There are several benefits to women’s-only events. For a woman who has not been athletic, participating in a mixed gender race can be very intimidating. In the RYKA Iron Girl Series, the emphasis is on fun and camaraderie, and the last finisher is celebrated as much as the first. It’s all about each participant’s personal victory! As a woman named Alice, who ran at the RYKA Iron Girl 5-mile and 5K in Denver, Colo., told me “there were the usual expected speedsters, but many more people who, I expect, were much more like us- everyday women who found an avenue to self-empowerment and balance through fitness.” Alice had signed up for the race at the urging of a friend, who told her about it two months ahead of time. She was not completely new to running, but her running shoes were getting dusty! She says the race “provided a goal which required hard work, but was do-able.” She and her friend had a great time at the 2006 event and are looking forward to competing again this year.
For the more competitive athletes, a women’s-only race provides a welcome change- you can clearly see your opponents! In most races, the leading women will be running alongside many men and are unaware of their gender placement in the race. And even if you aren’t near the lead, the atmosphere in an all-women’s event is different. Participants report more courtesy and support coming from their co-participants. The atmosphere is comfortable and fun, with more camaraderie among participants than is the norm. There is a shared sense of accomplishment and pride.
Iron Girl offers a variety of events and distances so that female participants can build upon their successes. A participant might start the season with a 5K and build up to a triathlon. The courses are challenging with a variety of climates and terrains. And the race amenities are terrific! Each athlete receives a performance technical shirt sized just for women and a personalized race bib featuring each participant’s first name. There is chip timing, finishers’ medals, and lots of post-race giveaways. Each course is certified. There will be an expo, and a post-race Breakfast Café at each event. The Breakfast Café is a huge hot and cold breakfast with plenty of seats and food for each and every runner. Many women have noted that at the end of other races there isn’t food left for the slower runners, but that is not the case at Iron Girl events!
Awards go three deep in 5-year age divisions. There is also a Mother/Daughter Category. This is a great activity for mothers and daughters to enjoy together! Baby joggers are also welcomed at all the run/walk events so that new mother’s can participate with their babies. Iron Girl provides a great motivation to get back into shape after pregnancy, and to stay in shape without sacrificing mother/child time.
Clearwater, FL- 4/1: The 2007 series kicks off in Clearwater, Florida on April 1. There will be 10-Mile and 5K races offered at Coachman Park. This waterfront park ensures a scenic course! Participants will traverse the Memorial Causeway Bridge over Clearwater Harbor, which will provide a spectacular view.
Atlanta, GA- 6/17: Atlanta is a new venue for 2007! And it’s a triathlon! The event will be held at Lake Lanier Islands Resort at 7 a.m. The event is a 1/3-Mile swim, 18-Mile bike, and 3-Mile run. Athletes will enjoy a lake swim, and scenic bike and runs courses in this extremely picturesque location 45 minutes northeast of downtown Atlanta.
Denver, CO- 6/24: It’s a new date for Denver, but the same great 5-Mile and 5K races. The location is Veteran’s Park at the State Capitol, and tours the broad streets of the downtown area. The courses are mainly flat, with one small hill near the beginning, and a fast finish!
Boston, MA- TBD: The Boston date is yet to be determined, but is likely to be between Denver and Irving. Stay tuned for further details. Last year there were two running events, a 10K and a 5K.
Irving, TX- 7/22: The second annual RYKA Iron Girl Texas Triathlon will be held in Las Colinas, which is near Dallas and has been the site of many triathlons over the years. The swim will be 500M, the bike is 20K, and the run is 5K.
Columbia, MD- 8/19: Located in Ellicott City, outside of Baltimore and DC, this triathlon sold out in 2006, so be sure to sign up early! The race is a 1K swim, a 30K bike, and a 5K run. This event features a band performing music on the course, always a great boost!
Seattle, WA- 9/9: This run/walk event takes places in Green Lake Park at 8 a.m. There is both a 10K and 5K race. This is another scenic course in a great location! There’s lot to do and explore in Seattle, so this would make a great destination weekend!
Bloomington, MN- 9/23: The series’ only duathlon, a 2-Mile run/22-Mile bike/2-Mile run event, is held at Normandale Lake Park at 7:30 a.m. This is the final event in the 2007 series. For a runner who would like an additional challenge, consider capping your Iron Girl experience with a duathlon! As is typical of Iron Girl events, the course is highly scenic. The bike course is rolling with some hills, and the run is along the lake.
Tempe, AZ- 12/2: The concluding events will be held in Tempe, Arizona on December 2. There will be 10-Mile and 5K run/walk events beginning at 8 a.m. at Tempe Town Lake, a beautiful location just outside of Phoenix. The courses will be on both the streets of Tempe and on the paths around the lake.
Register and learn more about the 2007 RYKA Iron Girl Series at www.IronGirl.com.
Participants looking to race for a cause may run for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, which has teamed up with Iron Girl to raise funds for young adults living with or recovering from cancer, and their families. Iron Girl participants who raise $750 or more for the fund will receive RYKA shoes and apparel, Iron Girl socks and a visor, and a special racing bib, in addition to all the usual Iron Girl amenities. These runners can and do make a difference, and will be recognized at the award ceremony. They will also be entered into a drawing to win an all-expense paid trip to the 2008 Iron Girl event of their choice!
Men, please encourage the girls and women in your life to participate! With such a large selection of events and locations, this is something every woman can be a part of. The personal happiness and satisfaction that comes from setting athletic goals, working toward them, and then achieving them benefits everyone. Thank you, Iron Girl, for presenting this tremendous series of events!