A ‘Soletastic’ Event

Growing up I remember being very bored. We didn’t have the wealth of ‘stuff’ our kids have today, there were no electronics, well until the Binatone tennis game appeared on the scene becoming the much sort after activity of the day. Mostly we would be sent outside with a ball or a bike and told to come back before tea. There were no over protective parents, no strict rules, just ‘Don’t get into trouble!’

So for me, being skinny and lanky, long distance running was the perfect way to put that extra energy to good use. As I mentioned in a previous post, it wasn’t exactly what I called fun but I made friends and for me these were the people I felt good hanging out with.

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Roll forward a couple or decades (and BIT) and here I find myself with three extremely energetic children ages 6, 6, and 7, Yes I am a busy mum and its not easy keeping that energy out of mischief. As a parent of this generation you feel you need to be the perfect role model, there is so much to juggle, compete with and pressure to perform. I know I certainly don’t tick all boxes all the time. However I recently discovered that something I did inspired my kids and it was good for them. Running has become a rekindled passion, with Vancouver as a backdrop I can’t imagine training inside ever again. Even in the rain I would prefer to be out there being connected to this beautiful landscape than pounding a treadmill.

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After Hudson, Chloe and Lily experienced their first race, The Granville Island Turkey Trot, running for the self initiated West Van Junior Crew, they were hooked. West Van Run has a rock star crew with a truly amazing team meeting twice a week. It is now what I call fun and a lot of it. At the turkey Trot I bumped into a giant smile glowing from a beacon of pink, it was a member of ‘Sole Girls’ I hadn’t crossed the group before but having worked in branding and creative my entire career I was drawn to their positive energy and brand right positioning. I wanted to know more.

I googled the group and watched founder Ashley Wilkes Ted talks presentation and was inspired to find out more. I contacted Ashley and learned her group was going to be in force at the upcoming MEC Halloween Creepy Creek 5K trail race this weekend. When I mentioned it to the girls they were all Yes Yes YES!!!!!!! I’m lucky that my girls are not shy or afraid to try pretty much anything.

On the morning of the event I looked outside at 6.30am, we needed to leave soon to register and it was freezing and pouring. Two little ones were sleeping soundly, should I wake them? or just go and take a few pictures myself. Ok who am I kidding they will want to go, so out of slumber they came and fairly quickly sprung to action. I think that knowing Kirill (the founder of West Van Run) would be there to bench press and generally goof around with them gave them a little encouragement.

At the registration Lily was literally shaking, she was so cold, until she saw the Sole Girls tent. It was aglow with sparkles and pinktastic energy buzzing through the downpour. I can’t wait to share all this pink fever with my dear friend Victoria Kann of the famous Pinkalicious series. No miserable weather was going to dampen these spirits. Quickly the girls fit right in bedazzling themselves, ready to join their new pink buddies.

I instantly spotted Ashley, having watched her on your tube, with or without the super costume she is literally alive and electric with enthusiasm and positive energy. I have to really applaud women who inspire new generations in this way. To find ways to turn something challenging into an achievement, to overcome fears and by taking one step at a time to respect ourselves and bodies, this organization deserves to be on the map!

Ashley introduced a special guest, Micayla Gatto an amazing pro downhill mountain biker who was not only an inspiration but one of the nicest people! She proceeded to make best friends with the girls and take them under her wing for the duration of the event! I think my girls will be following Micayla which to me is a great choice!

After everyone shared a group cheer and hug it was off for a quick warm up and motivational energy boost led by Ashley around the starting line. The 16K runners were warming up too about lead the pack, I think these Sole girls really showed them what the future competition looked like.

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As the 16K runners left, they got loud a ‘SoleCheer’ !

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And then it was time for these sole sisters to head to their starting mark and off on their 5K mudslide adventure.

As usual when the girls flew across the start line, Chloe and Lily were so full of energy they didn’t take mummy’s advice to pace themselves and darted ahead. Lily had latched onto the lovely Micayla and within minutes the two became lifelong buddies sprinting off into the distance. After about 1k Chloe took a rather large downhill stumble ending up a little bruised and very soaked in thick muddy slime. As the tears started to burst and the look of despair creep across here face, I knew something special was going to have to happen to make it through another 4K of hills and rocky terrain. That’s the moment I truly experience ‘Sole Power’. As a parent its not always enough to encourage your little ones to keep going but as a collective force after and one pink power encouragement followed by another and another, ‘you can do it’, ‘its one step at a time’ and ‘do you need a sole buddy/ sister to run with’ boosts its amazing how a face so sad can turn around and end their first 5K trail beaming with delight.

Here are some images of the trail and the moment Chloe and I crossed the finish line or rolled across to be precise!

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The girls then met up with my running crew West Van Run, sporting my fellow runner and photog friend Shannon’s 2nd overall ladies medal (go Shannon!!!) A fitting duo !

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The with no signs of cold setting in so a much enjoyed massage and a little warm down for Krill keep the fun rolling!

A couple of last shots of two awesome examples of why running is a team sport and so much fun. To learn more about Sole Girls check them out here www.solegirls.org. And to learn more about West Van Run and sign up for a fabulous event on March 5th and 6th check them our here www.westvanrun.com

P.S Congrats Kirill 1st place !

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