Run Like A Girl Is The Community For Adventure Seekers And Facebook Runners
There is no denying that running is a solo activity. But the more we run the quicker we learn that it is far from lonely. In fact, there is always some other runner right there with us. They know what we are going through, celebrate our wins, and understand our losses. For many, Run Like A Girl is that go-to community. It is a community for runners who are adventure seekers looking to travel and challenge themselves, as well as remote runners who choose to connect with other runners and their love for the sport on Facebook.
Run Like A Girl (RLAG) is a brand, company, community, and movement. Started in 2013 by Courtney Burt, and Hailey Van Dyk, and later with Dayna Egyed on board, RLAG connects those who have a passion for running (and fitness in general) with others who are also goal seekers and looking to live their best life.
“Our goal is to connect like-minded people,” Burt told RunnerClick. “They don’t have to be runners, but just people who are looking to make a connection, be recognized and feel welcomed by others who are looking to be better people. It may be to run their first 5k, get a faster time on a 50k, come back from an injury or fit in some exercise in their crazy day.”
And for those who follow Facebook running communities, it’s one of the biggest ones.
Each of the “girls” of RLAG has a long list of running accomplishments. All three of them have done the Transalpine run. Burt, 29-year-old from Surrey, British Columbia, is an ultramarathoner and outdoor adventurer ran her first 50k when she was 24. She has since completed 260+km races, traveled around the world completing multi-day stage races of 7 days, 100km races, 50 miles and more.
Van Dyk, an ER nurse who lives in Squamish, BC, started running after a bad ski accident left both her knee and ankle injured. Looking to so “something epic” after recovery, she completed a marathon and has been hooked on running since.
Egyed started as a cyclist, later finding her love for trail running. She has completed about 20 50ks races, and the Transrockies Run, and more.
Many know the RLAG Community on Facebook. “Liked” by over 132,000 runners, with over 30,000 members, the Run Like A Girl Community page is a closed group that serves as a safe space to as for advice, find other runners in the area and stay up to date with what is happening with the company.
The Facebook page has humble roots. “We simply created the page to share our running and adventure knowledge with our friends,” Burt said.
It started as an RLAG local page so that people could connect with others who lived nearby, while the admins were able to organize and help them do so. “We wanted a way to share what we were up to with our friends and family,” added Van Dyk. “We had no idea it was going to grow into what it is. It wasn’t the initial goal, that’s for sure.”
To be clear, RLAG has two Facebook pages. One is for the community, the closed group mentioned here. But the women also run an RLAG personal page for the company, which has even more followers.
“Seeing how RLAG is global, we are around the world, we have followers everywhere, everybody started disconnecting in our community page so that’s when we changed to name to RLAG community,” Egyed said. “The community is just a way for people to connect, share what they’re doing, a voice.”
RLAG Facebook’s Community page is empowering, inspiring, and helps runners with accountability. And since we all start our running journey alone, it gives people the opportunity to “meet” other runners and ask questions or advice. This includes everything from asking about the best sneakers to tips before a big race. It’s also a place to share and celebrate—no matter how small the victory.
“Maybe your family or friends that don’t run. It’s a place where people understand what you went through or what you’ve done, and everyone’s so proud,” Egyed said. “Most of the time in the community, people are telling others what they accomplished. They want to share. They are proud, and it’s a place where they can say, ‘Hey I ran this, or I did this, or here’s a selfie of me,” Egyed said. “It’s like a big cheerleader group.”
It is a safe space for runners to brag without judged from “regular” Facebook friends. And no matter how different everyone is, there is one thing in common: the love for running.
“It doesn’t matter how fast you run, how far you run, what you look like, where you live,” Van Dyk said. “As long as you are out doing the things you love, that is all that really matters to us.”
The Power Of Facebook For Runners
Runners today are lucky to have a tool like Facebook. Egyed spoke about having no social media back when she started out running. As a trail runner, it was hard for her to find new routes or even connect with others.
“I would join a group, but I would be shy to go for a run or feel intimidated,” she said. “But you can join a group on Facebook, and have a chat and send a message and get a feel of what the people are like before you go and do something. It’s almost like your friends before you even get there.”
“Social media can also help people find races, running groups or new trails in their area,” Van Dyk said. I think that it’s best used when you can convert it to real life, instead of being on the phone or computer.”
And tapping into the knowledge of these new running friends is priceless. “It’s a great way for people to grab advice from other people with experience rather than reading from a website,” Burt said. “Our community can simply log onto the page and put there question out there. We get a lot of, ‘I’m running my first marathon in a few weeks what are your tips for running the first one?!; and people who have already gone through their first time experience can share things that they have learned.”
Along with also getting people moving, the community also helps people feel good about themselves. “I think a lot of people suffer from anxiety and mental health [issues], and running is not the cure, but it definitely helps for people with those struggles,” Egyed said. “It’s a way to build confidence and to feel like you’re apart of something.”
As so often we hear, running is the best therapy.
“I think the big thing for people is knowing they are not alone,” Burt said.
“We wanted a place where people felt free to feel good about themselves and share it with each other. Not everyone has a local community or even a partner that understands what they are going through or what they have accomplished so it’s amazing to have a virtual support community,” she added. “Everyone can ask questions, share goals and teach each other. It’s really amazing.”
For Adventure Seekers: The Retreats And Races
RLAG has spread to runners all around the world, and the community page just one of RLAG’s many branches. The company organizes two races throughout the year, one for mental health, and one for breast cancer. Ambassadors of RLAG are tasked with hosting an event, but the races are also virtual so that people all around the world are running for that cause on that same day.
But RLAG also hosts trips for adventure seekers looking to challenge themselves in ways they never could imagine. Retreats are held in Costa Rica, Squamish, Peru, Iceland, Patagonia.
“Each location offers a completely different experience. But with each comes our idea of changing one’s perspective. The purpose behind the retreats is to create the opportunity for others to grow, learn, challenge themselves and have a change in perspective,” Burt said.
So much so that many of the participants are reoccurring members of the community.
“Most people that go to the retreat always have something they are fighting—whether it’s recovering from a bad breakup or something happened in their life,” Egyed said. “They come and there’s a lot of relief.”
She described adventures like those in Costa Rica as “glamping” in little huts in the rainforest that includes hikes, yoga, and other activities that take participants out of their comfort zones.
Van Dyk spoke of the Squamish Adventure weekends as an “amazing way to get people into new sports in a quick three days.” “We really pack in the action, from climbing to mountain biking to SUPing to hiking, she said. “You will try hopefully something new and maybe even walk away with a new sport!”
Life Changing Experiences
While the community, in general, is inspiring, it’s the stories from the adventures on the retreats that impact participants and the organizers.
“We pour our heart and souls into our retreats and I’m not going to lie we have changed some lives,” But said.
But sometimes it’s the participants who have the biggest impact.
Scarlett Redman is a name that came up when speaking to both Burt and Egyed. The young woman was on the Costa Rica retreat two years ago, and her story left a lasting impression on them.
While hiking to the private loge that is “nestled” between Chirripo National Park and La Amistad International Park, Burt found herself at the back of the group with Redman. Hiking the steep and rocky roads she noticed Redman was walking “a bit odd and seemed to be in some pain.” After chatting during breaks she found out the 26-year-old suffered from Femoral anteversion, the inward twisting of the thigh bone that causes a “pigeon-toed” appearance.
After getting over the fact that the young woman didn’t mention this in her medical history for fear of being rejected from the trip, Burt quickly saw inspiration from the young women who didn’t let her condition stop her and push herself.
“We just inspired each other. Scarlett was told that she wouldn’t be able to walk by the age of 30, and her attitude was, ‘my legs are in the same pain when I am not walking so why not get up and do stuff.’”
Not only did she make it through the hike, but she competed in all the activities held inducing waterfall rappelling and long mountain hikes.
“I saw her post of her running a 10k and then a half marathon, she continues to inspire me to be better every day and to be thankful for the things that we can do,” Burt said. “Coming to our retreat was just the start of Scarlett’s journey. It re-ignited her fight.”
Whether it’s signing up for a race, hiking in Costa Rica or looking for tips on Facebook, the Run Like A Girl is more than just a community—it’s an inspirational movement for anyone with the passion and the drive to run.