Olympian Gen Lalonde hosted the first-ever women’s running summit at the Université de Moncton last week. Lalonde is from the East Coast and wanted to do something for the running community in the area where she grew up. The event brought women aged 13 up to 93 together. Lalonde said via email that, “the whole idea was to get girls and women together to create relationships and maybe even find a new running friend or mentor.”
Lalonde is a 2016 Olympian in the 3,000m steeplechase and the defending Canadian national champion in the event. She trains out of Speed River Track Club in Guelph, Ont.
Lalonde said that the event had great representation across the different disciplines of running. “We had great representation from young girls running track, to world masters champion Patty Blanchard, to Canadian trail runner Shelley Doucet, to local recreational runners.”
The day was segmented into a fun run, an open discussion on mental health, discussions on building relationships with coaches, a talk about RED-S and a yoga session. Lalonde said, “The day was made possible by a collaboration with Athletics NB and Run NB.”
Another organization with similar goals is Fast and Female. The organization’s vision is, “A positive, empowering environment for girls in sport.” Young women drop out of sport at six times the rate of boys in their early teens. Programs like Fast and Female and women’s running summits are drawing attention to this phenomenon and encouraging a positive change.
In Victoria, B.C. last week, the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence hosted a Fast and Female event. The event connected young women with sport ambassadors for a day of activities.
If you’re interested in donating to Fast and Female or to find an event in your community click here.