Stacy Chesnutt is heading back to Kenya in March, and she is not going empty handed. The race director of the Sole Sisters Women’s Race Series is taking new shoes and as many running watches as she can collect in the next 2-3 weeks, and will be distributing them to a group of female runners in training there she met last year. The group has become known as Sole Sisters Kenya. “Everything I’m doing is for the 20 women that are in Sole Sisters Kenya,” she explained. “That name came about because they found out about all my running stuff and Sole Sisters, and they want to be part of this.”
For runners, planning out their 2018 race calendar is an important early-year task. Generally, planning early has benefits including reduced registration fees (early-bird registration) and allows adequate time to commit to a race and train specifically for it. And while winter is quieter time in Canadian road and trail racing, there are still options before the spring, summer and fall seasons pick up. We compiled one race for every week in 2018, all of them in Canada. Consider this one option for your 2018 race planner. A best effort was made to include races from across the country, from British Columbia to the Maritimes to the territories.
The Sole Sisters Women’s Race Series hosted Eastern Canada’s only women’s only quarter-marathon and half-marathon on Sunday.
The 5K, quarter-marathon (10.5K) and half-marathon race weekend in Dartmouth, N.S. is the second of the Sole Sisters events. Unlike the June 5K, the Oct. 1 race was chip-timed though participants had the option of being listed in the results as official finishers without their times. (The June 5K had upwards of 3,000 participants, Canada’s largest women’s-only 5K.) According to race organizers, the event is the “first and only women’s 5K, quarter and half-marathon in Eastern Canada.” More than 1,000 participants were expected to partake in the event, according to Andrew Wagstaff of Maritimerunner.ca.
Fifteen years ago, Stacy Chesnutt would not have been impressed by a slow 5K. A runner for 30 years, Chesnutt has run 55 marathons and taken part in numerous Ironman triathlons. But it’s been her eight years as a race director, six of those as the pioneer of the Sole Sisters Women’s Race Series, that has given her a new outlook.
“I’ve always wanted to volunteer and help people, and I’ve always been big on running and trying to get people to run,” she said. “But where I’ve changed in the last decade… I’m really sincere when I say it’s about finish lines, and not finish times.”
She realizes how intimidating it is for someone who does not consider themselves an athlete, to even consider running a 5K, and that someone finishing a 5K race for the first time at any speed is much more impressive than someone who has been running for years, putting in another fast time. Read More…
International Women’s Day Project Tells Women To #StopWaiting | Buzzfeed – March 7, 2017 By Caitlin Patterson
How many women do you know that want to get in better shape before doing their first 5K, or want to lose a few extra pounds before getting those sexy photographs taken? This year, the International Women’s Day theme is Be Bold for Change – so, that’s exactly what this project is telling you to do – #StopWaiting to live your life!
There has never been a better time to change the dialogue surrounding real women’s bodies in the media, so these ladies decided to show off their bodies and kick start the challenge! #StopWaiting has been organized by Sole Sisters Women’s Race and Halifax Boudoir, and they kicked it off joined by the women of Sole Sisters Women’s Race Series and local body positivity advocate Jillian McClary with these awesome photos! Read More…
Empowering with Sole Sisters | The Chronicle Herald – March 7, 2017
If you’re a woman who is still in the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” stage of deciding to get fit, there is a new incentive, the “Stop Waiting” campaign from the Sole Sisters Women’s Race and Halifax Boudoir, launching on International Women’s Day Wednesday.
“Over the last few years, hundreds of campaigns have been launched promoting body positivity and encouraging women to embrace their bodies,” says Stacy Chesnutt, the race director of Sole Sisters.
“These campaigns have resonated with women and girls across the globe, but we think it’s time for us to stop talking and take action. There has never been a better time to change the dialogue surrounding real women’s bodies in the media.” Read More…
Sole Sisters Womens Race | Adrenalin Mag, Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance – Fall 2016 By Bonnie Schiedel
When your event is billed as “the biggest tutu race in the world,” fun is a foregone conclusion, and that’s exactly the way Stacy Chesnutt, founder and director of the Sole Sisters Women’s Race Series wants it. “It’s this unbelievably supportive, you-go-girl environment,” says Chesnutt. “Our motto is ‘finish lines, not finish times.’”
Held in Dartmouth, N.S., the race series includes two different race days. The inaugural event, now going into its sixth year, is the Sole Sisters 5K,
Sole Sisters have heart | The Chronicle Herald – October 6, 2016tatus By Carole Dobson
More than 1,000 local runners and walkers take to streets
A little drop of rain did not dampen the spirits of the more than 1,000 women who participated in the inaugural Sole Sisters first and only women’s 5K, Quarter and Half Marathon in Eastern Canada held on Sunday, Oct. 2.
While the race is an officially sanctioned Run Nova Scotia race, race director Stacy Chesnutt says participants were given the choice of having their run timed, with a chip, or running simply for their own pleasure. She notes that half marathons are the largest growing race in North America and are a bucket list item for many runners. Read More…
Inaugural Sole Sisters quarter and half-marathon a big success in the Maritimes | Canadian Running – October 2, 2016 By Tim Huebsch
The third and final installment of the 2016 Sole Sisters Women’s Race Series was held on Sunday in the Maritimes.
Known as the “first and only women’s 5K, quarter- and half-marathon in Eastern Canada,” Sunday’s race in Dartmouth, N.S. was the inaugural event in which the series notably hosted a 10.5K and 21.1K event. There were more than 1,000 entrants who took part in the first edition of the race that offered three race distances. Read More…
Canada’s largest women-only 5K race set for Saturday | The Chronicle Herald – June 7, 2016 By Ben Cousins
This coming Saturday in Burnside, 3,200 tutu-clad women will run or walk in Canada’s largest women-only five-kilometre race. The Sole Sisters Women’s Race is also unofficially the largest tutu race in the world and will be celebrating its fifth anniversary this weekend. “Five years for a race is kind of a big deal,” said Stacy Chesnutt, founder of the Sole Sisters Women’s Race Series. “We’re pretty excited.” Listed as one of Canadian Running Magazine’s bucket list races, the race features chocolate pit stops, hug stations and cheering firefighters along the route. Read more…
Hey Sole Sisters | The Dartmouth Tribune – June 6, 2016 By Heidi Tattrie Rushton
Lisa Weatherhead, Jo-anne Lantz and Cara Beals attend the Sole Sisters race. (Contributed)
Don’t be alarmed if you see thousands of women running in tutus through Dartmouth this weekend. It’s the fifth annual Sole Sisters race, the largest women’s only 5K in Canada. It’s known for attracting women of all fitness levels who want to be active and have fun at the same time.
Stacy Chesnutt, the founder and race director of Sole Sisters, moved to Halifax 10 years ago from New York City. She initially started a running club for youth to share her love of the sport and keep youth active but shortly after starting it she realized one group of youth was noticeably absent.
“I looked around and I went, ‘Wait a minute, where are the girls?’” she says. “It got me thinking about the bigger issue; you’ve got to see it to be it. Maybe the girls weren’t seeing women running and racing.”
She decided to start Girls Gone Gazelle, a non-profit running club for girls between the ages of eight to 13, that made the sport accessible to everyone. No matter a girl’s fitness or income level, everything is provided for her to be able to participate in the club for free. More than just a running club, Chesnutt calls it a confidence club and brings in women in from a variety of career fields to inspire the girls.
Chesnutt then started Sole Sisters as a way to raise money to operate Girls Gone Gazelle, and encourage women to try running. In fact, Chesnutt says about half the runners are usually first-timers.
Jo-anne Lantz was a novice runner at the first first Sole Sisters run five years ago and she has come back every year since.
“I was just getting into running and thought, ‘What a great motivation to get women together,’” she says. “Sole Sisters was my first ever registered run.”
Lantz says besides the physical challenge, the race is a lot of fun.
“There’s a chocolate station, hug station, fun and lively water stations, the best purple shirts and amazing medals handed out by firefighters,” she says.
The runners wear tutus, which add to the whimsy and fun of the event. Chesnutt laughs and says this year’s tutu is a “premium” tutu that has polka-dots and is bigger than ever.
A new addition to the event this year is the L’il Sisters 1K and 3K race in Shubie Park for girls under the age of 18. It operates under the same philosophy — no pressure and lots of fun. There will also be a new October Sole Sisters Quarter and Half Marathon (along with a 5K option) for those women wanting to keep their training up through the summer.
“I have a lot of Sole Sisters that started five years ago and they do a lot of 5Ks and they’re looking for the next thing,” Chesnutt explains, adding that there will be an option to be timed for the October race.
This weekend’s race in Dartmouth is not timed however, which is part of Chesnutt’s dedication to make it a fun experience that everyone can feel proud of being a part of.
“It’s not about being first, it’s about being with your best girlfriends and being active,” says Chesnutt.
Sole Sisters continues trailblazing in women’s racing| Canadian Running – July 8, 2015 By Caela Fenton
Canadian Running caught up with race director Stacy Chesnutt to tell us about what female runners can look forward to from the upcoming Sole Sisters events. Read More…
Burnside braced for wave of purple. The Burnside News – June 10, 2015
Annual Sole Sisters 5K departing from Dartmouth Crossing on June 6. By Joanne Oostveen. Every June, something happens in Burnside that doesn’t happen anywhere else in Canada: the biggest women’s 5K race in the country.
Sherry Coldwell, left, Liana Jones and Beth Coldwell were decked out in pink and purple at last year’s Sole Sisters 5k – photo by Caitlin Patterson.
Now in its fourth year, the Sole Sisters 5K will take place on June 6, with 3,250 women winding their way through the streets of Burnside.
This race is their celebration; A 5k that is not timed, a run that is not about beating the next gal. Sole Sisters is about recognizing that women come in all shapes, sizes, ages and ability. And each woman finishes the distance in her own way.
Race Director Stacy Chesnutt said she never thought it would get this big. “But I always knew that women crave that sense of community,” she said. “And they want to feel healthy. This race is about the power of women and about their success.”
This is the second year that all the net proceeds will go to Girls Gone Gazelle Run Club, an all-girls running club for pre-teens designed to help girls gain confidence founded by Chestnutt. Women registered for the race this year are coming from all over Canada, the U.S., Cayman Islands and Australia, with 24 women registered in the over 70 age group.
“Sole Sisters represents every woman, from the Canadian Masters Marathon record holder that is at the front of the race to the woman with muscular dystrophy who walks the race and comes in at the end,” said Chesnutt. “I’ve heard from so many women who are living with chronic pain and illness or in treatment for cancer and they still show up. In fact, they use the race as the thing they are getting better for. The strength and support of women is mind-boggling.”
And Greater Burnside proved to be a perfect choice for the race.
“From having Dartmouth Crossing as a sponsor, 3,200 women do need a place to park, to having the Ramada as our host hotel. We actually sell out every hotel in Burnside but the Ramada is our race headquarters. And having all those great restaurants nearby. Sole Sisters often plan their shopping as much as their race.”
The event starts a musical performance at the Dartmouth Crossing Amphitheatre followed by a 1k warm up walk along with the Girls Gone Gazelle Run Club in the lead.
“This gets everyone in the mood to race.”
Starting at 6 p.m., participants depart from Wilkinson Avenue to Jennett, to Burbridge, back to Jennet and finishing at Wilkinson. Burnside is also the site for the training run socials that Chesnutt started this year. Participants meet for Saturday runs leading up to the race from the parking lot of Action Car & Truck Accessories at 581 Wright Avenue. Though the race is sold out every year by February, fans are welcome to come out and cheer. Last year Chesnutt began to run in a tutu after reading an article that put down all the silliness and fun of some races. She decided to give the first 2,500 women who registered a tutu of their own.
“Burnside will be awash in tutus and purple and strength of women. It will be a great celebration.”
Biggest tutu race in the world adds half-marathon for 2016| Canadian Running – June 8, 2015 By Sinead Mulhern
Fourth annual Sole Sisters Women’s Race ran on Saturday with 3,250 women showing up to run the “largest tutu race in the world.” At the end of the event, race directors made an announcement: next year’s race will feature a 10.5K race and half-marathon.
That makes it the first ever women’s only half-marathon in Atlantic Canada. Those who run the event say it will afford more newbie female runners an opportunity to choose this women’s only race as their goal race. It is scheduled to run in October. Read More…
The women’s-only races bucket list| Canadian Running – March 1, 2015 By Caela Fenton
Thinking of signing up for women’s race? Women’s-only races share a common goal: to showcase the achievements of female runners. There are many reasons why a female runner may seek this sort of event. Some women feel that top placing men get more recognition, beginners can be apprehensive about a large, mixed field and there are plenty of women who would simply like a chance to be the first to break the tape. And those who are just looking for an experience to share with their girlfriends, may look towards a women’s-only event. Here are some races to check out. Read More…
Halifax women’s race sells out in two months| Canadian Running – February 18, 2014 By Scott Leitch
The event has more than doubled in size since 2012. In 2012 there were 1,500 entrants and the 2014 race will host 3,200 runners. Last year, with only 2,500 bib numbers for sale the race took eight months to sell out. This year the race sold out in a third of that time even with the field size increased by 700.
“While demand shows the race could be even bigger, it is more important to us to deliver a quality event over the largest event possible. I think that is just one of the reasons this race is so unique,” said race director Stacy Chesnutt. Read More…