The Benefits of Running Women’s Only Races

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Women's only races are a great way to celebrate girl power among runners. The Benefits of Running Women’s Only Races

Who runs the world? Girls. And when it comes to the running world, there are plenty of female professional runners to look up to. These include great women racers like Shalane Flanagan who just placed third at the 2018 NYC Marathon, first place Peachtree winner Stephanie Bruce who isn’t afraid to show off her post-babies body, and the fastest American women half marathoner Kara Goucher.

There are also everyday women runners that serve as inspiration. These include moms who run with their babies in the jogging strollers, wives and sisters and aunts—even grandmas—who train for marathons while juggling work and family and making sure everything is good on the homefront. Running allows us to feel strong and confident in our bodies, relieve stress and put ourselves first.

And there is no better way to celebrate all this female empowerment than by participating in a women’s only races.

Girls Only

Listen up, ladies.

One of the best ways to race is in a female only event. While we don’t mean to not include men there is nothing wrong with letting them sit out from time to time. Women’s only races allow for females to bond and unite for a common cause. Depending on the race, it could be raising women for a charity that specifically helps women, young mothers, or mothers and children in need.

Photo by Aj Alao on Unsplash.

Aside from the race benefiting women charity wise, it can be extremely uplifting as a woman. These races are all about girl power and supporting and lifting each other up. While some seriously race these events, others opt to participate with their best gal pal. Some dress up in matching outfits, others complete with tutus. And what better way to celebrate post-race than with mimosa at brunch after?

For those who do take racing more seriously, women’s only races even the playing field when it comes to competition. It is true that for most races, males and females are ranked separately based on their finish time. However, those looking at their time might want to run their gender only race.

Women’s Only Races

Running a women’s only race is a great way to celebrate how strong we are both physically and mentally. That’s why signing up for a women’s only race is a must for every female runner.

These races often have perks that are tailored to our likes like post-race wine instead of beer and pretty medals.

Nike holds the largest women’s only race, the Nike Women’s Marathon and Half Marathon. It takes place in San Francisco and includes great swag like Tiffany necklaces and a red carpet at the finish line. This race is so sought after, runners need to enter a lottery but is among the best.

Another popular race series is the Diva’s Half Marathon and 5k. Put on throughout the U.S. this event features a divas station towards the end of the course where runners can pick up tiaras and feather boas to run fabulously in. Expect a blinged out medal and pictures with shirtless men.

The Disney Princess race series and the Tinkerbell Bell Weekend are also popular among the ladies. Each offers a 5k, 10k half marathon and challenges that combine the distances. While men are allowed to run, these are popular among the ladies. Expect costumes, pictures with characters, awesome medals like a Cinderella slipper for those who complete the back-to-back races challenge.

Other women’s only races include the Shape Women’s Half Marathon in NYC, the SoCal Wine Country Women’s Half Marathon and 5k (medals are wine stoppers), the Oakley New York Mini 10k (popular among Olympians) and See Jane Run Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco (that includes a glass of champagne).

There is also Cincinnati’s Queen Bee Half Marathon and4-Miler, and the Athleta Unleash the She in Minnesota that raises money for those affected by ovarian cancer.

There are even race calendars available online to locate the nearest women’s only race based on the runner’s location.

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash.

The Pros And Cons

Many women don’t see the appeal in participating in a women’s only race. For some, it’s empowering to be in a sea of strong females who better their health and lives by running. Others are turned off by the massages, wine and men in tuxedos with the belief that is is not celebrating strong women. They think it gives into stereotypes that women need to be pampered—even in an athletic event.

You can still be a feminist and enjoy women’s only races.

Don’t expect to not not see men. This might be a pro or con, depending on your outlook. Some men can and do participate in predominately female heavy events. And other include men volunteers. There is also the husbands, fathers, uncles, brothers, etc. of participants cheering on their leading ladies.

A major pro to running these events is the different type of energy that is there. It is an event to celebrate women and shows the community that female runners deserve a spot in the sport. Women were not allowed to participate in races once upon a time. It wasn’t until 1967 that Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. The first women’s only race then took place in 1972 in New York.

While women should compete in any race that strikes them, throwing at least one female-focused race is a great way to gather with every day great women and commemorate all of our accomplishments.


  1. Run Like A Diva, Diva Running Series , Race Website
  2. Disney, Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, Race Website
  3. ahotu Marathons, 2018 - 2019 Women only Race Calendar, Race Website
  4. Judi Ketteler, I Would Never Run a Women-Only Race. Until I Did., News Website
  5. Jen A. Miller, Do Women-Only Races Still Have a Purpose?, Running Website