For years now, Sole Sisters has pioneered women’s racing in Eastern Canada. Along the way, they have managed to create an incredible community that comes together to set goals and celebrate life in the most affirming way. Now, with a new virtual event, they are hoping to take the Sole Sisters vibe across the country.
“Our thinking was that when the world was the scariest and gloomiest, sending our rainbows and unicorns (on the medals, bibs and head wraps) would give our gals a reason to keep on moving. And when safe to even celebrate their fitness with friends,” says Stacy Chesnutt of Sole Sisters Race Series. “It was so exciting because we had 1,500 women walking and running last year over two virtual events and it showed us that virtual racing matters. We all need something until we can get together again.”
Want a perfect race to honour Mom as Mother’s Day approaches, or that special woman in your life no matter who they are? Look no further. And this year, everyone can participate.
“Unlike our in-person events, this is one you may want to do with your brother, husband, uncle, dad, so it is not limited to women only,” Chesnutt says. “But, the theme is HERoes so while you don’t have to be a HER to participate we do want you to celebrate the HERs you know. And frankly, that HERo could be you.”
This June would have been the 10th annual Sole Sisters Women’s 5K, and 3,000 people would lace up to take part in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, the largest race of its kind in the country. In 2016 a quarter and a half marathon were added. The races have a reputation for fun but also for offering the best medals, shirts, finish line and energy of any race. Yes, the tutus, the chocolate and the firefighters are kinda nice, also. Going into the second year of virtual racing, the team decided to switch things up a bit.
“Instead of trying to create something new, with Sole Sisters this year we wanted to create something really affordable and to offer a few different options for days to walk or run your virtual 5K,” Chesnutt says. “And we wanted you to do it for someone else, to celebrate the HERo in your life.”
Sole Sisters Virtual 5K is $29.99, which includes a race bib, finisher’s medal, and face mask with a new 2021 HERo theme.
“By celebrating the HERoes in your life it made sense to select women-specific holidays: Mother’s Day (May), Sole Sisters (anytime but we bet they’ll go for the usual June date) and National Girlfriends Day (August),” Chesnutt explains. “This pandemic has proven you can never plan too far ahead so these dates also give more options to folks. And yes, each race has a different medal.”
The virtual races are scheduled to finish up by Aug. 31. And, in keeping with Sole Sisters vibe, there are tutus to be had.
“The most obvious thing is that we are a women-only event but I’d say our tutus are also pretty unique. In addition to the usual race shirts, participants can register for a race tutu or a race shirt,” says Chesnutt, who wanted to pare down the race kits for this event to keep the cost down, but will have those items available for purchase.
Although virtual events are not the same, and here for a limited time, it does afford unique and really fun races such as Sole Sisters to spread their message to a much wider audience and make their community that much stronger. For this race, there is even an international option for those registering from another country.
Sponsors for this event are Tara MacDonald of Plus Fitness with Tara, Kaitlyn Beaver of Kaitlyn Beaver Wellness and the Nova Scotia College of Chiropractors.
“You just never know who will want to be a Sole Sister,” Chesnutt says. “Last year we had huge groups participating in Saskatchewan, Ottawa and Ontario. And I admit I was so excited to send kits to the Northwest Territories and the Yukon so I hope they’ll be back in 2021.”
For Chesnutt, it’s all about the community and providing an outlet for people to not only set goals but to achieve them. For instance, she often receives emails and letters from those who used Sole Sisters to kick start their own fitness journeys.
“I actually received an email on Monday that just sums it up for me so well. It read: ‘I wanted to make you aware that I did complete it and to thank you for giving me the push I needed to get active again. I have been walking 5k at least three days a week and am thrilled that your virtual idea gave me the motivation I needed.’” Chesnutt says. “You see we all need something to motivate us and I’ve always felt bling was the best motivator.”
For more information or to register for the Sole Sisters 5K check out the event on Race Roster.