I am really excited because I have been selected as a ZOOMA Race Ambassador for 2017. ZOOMA is a race series across the country with the goal of helping women live healthy, inspired, and active lives. When I found out about ZOOMA I had a flashback to coaching Girls on the Run at NativityMiguel and how empowering it was to work with younger girls on improving their self-esteem and reaching goals through running. I of course had to apply to be a part of this amazing team so that I could try to help women have the same positive experience that the girls on my team did.
2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the ZOOMA series and includes a race schedule through March of 2018. I will definitely be running in the June 3rd, Annapolis half-marathon which starts at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, runs past the Naval Academy, and over the Naval Academy Bridge. The Navy has a special place in #TeamMcMILEan’s hearts so I could not be happier with the location and course for this event. This race also has a 10k and 5k option if you want to join me but are not quite ready for the half-marathon distance. If mileage is not a problem, but travel is causing an impediment there is a VIRTUAL run option for BOTH the 1/2 marathon and the 10k. Now neither Robert nor I have ever participated in a virtual run, but if those are your style I would love to know you are running with me on that day.
ZOOMA knows how to throw a party fit for female runners. Instead of the usual beer at the finish line these races feature a Fitness Expo and an After-Party Expo featuring wine, post-race massages, shopping, yoga, and music. They also offer COMPLIMENTARY race photos which I find so refreshing. I always get frustrated after I worked so hard during a race to pull off that “I’m not actually exhausted” look when I pass the camera and then see the price tag is $35 for one image. It completely blows my mind that race directors find that acceptable, and am so grateful to ZOOMA for letting us enjoy pictures that help us remember the highs (and maybe the lows) of our experience racing.
Run for a Cause
We all know that running can be a great way to raise awareness and funds for an organization we hold near and dear to our hearts. ZOOMA has selected two different charities for the Annapolis race this year. The first is Every Mother Counts, which is a woman-founded maternal health non-profit organization that links mothers to providers of essential care to address major barriers to maternal health in the U.S. and abroad. The idea behind this organization is simple, help create a world where pregnancy and childbirth is safer for both mothers and babies. Not running but still want to make a difference- donate through my fundraising page for the race!
The second cause for this race is called the Orphan Grain Train which is a Christian volunteer network that shares personal and material resources with needy people in the U.S. and around the world. The race directors are asking for participants to bring retired running sneakers to the race expo on Friday to donate them to donate them. I know of two pairs that will definitely be making the trip with me to be donated. I also would rather have my sneakers be going to help women around the world, rather than being recycled into turf (although that is still a better alternative than a landfill). I really like this component of the race because I hesitate to even put a fundraising link on this page. Everyone works extremely hard for their money and I hate asking people for funds for causes for that reason. I love the idea of a concrete donation at a race of something practical that most runners have and would love to donate to a specific cause.
The ZOOMA website does an excellent job explaining the logistics for the race and has the maps for the races already posted along with a narrative description of the courses, which I find extremely helpful. They do allow someone else to pick up your race packet for you (this can be very useful if you are from out of town) or even pay $20 to have the packet mailed to you ahead of time if you cannot make it to the expo by 8 on Friday night. I have not seen this before at a race and I think is another THOUGHTFUL option provided by the race directors. Everything that these women do is about making the EXPERIENCE as a whole the best for the racers because it is about more than the 13.1 miles you run, although I will admit that is still the most exciting part of the weekend.
Speaking of the experience, Friday not only includes the Expo and a course preview, but also a guest speaker AND a Barefoot Wine Party to end the night!
So Why ZOOMA with Me?
With a plethora of races to choose from every weekend based on your mileage desires and the distance you are willing to travel, obviously choosing which races to participate in is almost a science. I wanted to be a part of this series because it truly celebrates women and is extremely supportive and empowering throughout the entire process. So if you have been looking for a race to start off summer, come run with me. If you want to try the 5k, 10k, or half-marathon distance for the first time in an extremely supportive, judgement free zone full of other women working to achieve similar goals to your own, come run with me. If you are trying to run a race in each of the 50 states, come cross Maryland off your list! If you are just looking for a girls’ weekend, come enjoy the weekend with me. Whatever your reason I would love for you to join me in this latest endeavor of mine.
Do you already have a shower/wedding/graduation/fill in the blank of the millions of engagements that seem to cram up your weekend availability? Mark your calendar for March 10th, 2018 and come run with me in Austin. Too excited to wait that long? The race series is also hosting two fall races in October. Cape Cod will be hosting a half marathon and 10k on October 7th and Amelia Island in Florida (which is an adorable place to visit, or get married if you’re in my family) will have a half marathon, 12k, and 5k on October 21st!
As a reward for making it through this whole post I have a 10% code for you to use when you register for any of the ZOOMA Races! If you are like me this race series just became even MORE appealing because whenever I get a discount I automatically take it as a small personal victory.