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Goddess Run Race Report: Sisterhood of sweat

No doubt about it – The Victoria Goddess Run has a special vibe.

No doubt about it – The Victoria Goddess Run has a special vibe.

Sure, the Boston marathon has its speedy masochists, the New York marathon its cultural mavens, and the Goodlife Fitness Victoria half and full marathon attracts thousands who train all summer to reap the rewards along a scenic course.

But none boast the sisterhood, tutus and bling that have become an annual favourite of Victoria females who are joined by out-of-town sisters, mothers, friends, aunts and nieces in a 5K, 10K or half-marathon.

insurance gals

Supporting other women is important for many at the Goddess Run, including the Intact Insurance employees


For the gals from Intact Insurance in Millstream Village, it’s an opportunity to do something community-minded outside work. They’ve participated every year since the race was first held in 2012, growing in numbers from eight to 15 this year.

“It’s a good cause – a good way to come together to support other women,” said ringleader Kelly Ritchie-Simmons as her co-workers attached alarmingly pink hair extensions into each other’s hair.

Five dollars from each race registration goes to one of three charities of the runner’s choice – Victoria Women’s Transition House, Kid Sport or Victoria Sexual Assault Centre.  In the last three years, the Goddess Run has raised $70,000.


UVic students Ashleigh and Natasha learned about the race in their class and showed up in style


This is the first year that UVic students Ashleigh Hawed and Natasha Stanton have participated. They heard about the race in their Recreation and Health Education university course while developing plans to get people engaged in healthy activities.

They showed up with the fun attitude, coloured socks and tutus that vividly demonstrate that this race will be memorable, though not necessarily for a personal best. I’d venture to say that although tutus seem as light as air, they are not the most aerodynamic running garb. If you’re after a PB, see note on Boston above. And judging by the amount of tutus on the course, next year I'm going to corner the market on tulle.

three generations

Three generations of role models


For Tyann Blewett, this is a family affair. She got her mother, Peggy MacDonald, to join the Sole Sisters training clinic with her, culminating in Sunday’s 10K race.

At 75 (75 and a half, Peggy quips), the grandmother is a great role model for granddaughter Hailey, 11, who is also blinged out, and ready to create some of that ‘good energy’ that ripples through the crowd.

Taking a light-hearted approach to a serious message, the women running with Jo Thorburn want the world to know how you can save someone’s life by becoming an organ donor – or as their capes say “Recycle Yourself.”

Jo and pals

Jo and her caped crusadors with a message for the race course


Seven months ago, Jo donated a kidney to her sister and is now lacing up for a half-marathon. SEVEN MONTHS AGO, her friend repeated. ‘It’s OK’ I felt like telling her, I’m totally impressed (and tell myself that the next time I feel a niggling pain, I’ll think of those who have endured much more).

Thorburn and her gang have been running together for 15 or so years, underscoring the social aspect to running that keeps many women active and kibitzing over coffee and comparing physiotherapists over glasses of wine.

That’s the case of my own race day. Running this race on my own wouldn’t have been nearly as satisfying, but that’s what I faced after my daughter was unable to run with me due to a swimming competition where she'd be churning up the pool.

I was fortunate to connect with some former running buddies to share the pre-race anticipation in the parking lot and post-race high-5s and hugs while all around us pairs and clusters of women did the same.


with my gal pals

Runners' friendships last longer than the memories of triumphs and failures


May be it was the sun. May be it was the post-race endorphin high. But really, both of those were just the icing on the sisterhood cake.

Call it corny, I don’t care. This is a race with a difference.

Friends help with bling

Finishers get a Sporty Jewels pendant - well-earned bling!

P.S. -  this blog is dedicated to all the goddesses in my family and circles of friends, but most of all to my niece Natalie whom I couldn't be with on Sunday to celebrate a new chapter in her life.