I recently completed my first half marathon. It was a total blast; I can't wait to do another one. However, 13.1 miles is very specific to my taste in running; my flat feet won't survive a full marathon, however my checkbook needs more motivation than a 5k or 10k to see the race through. I didn't realize there are hardly any such races in Bay Area, CA territory, and I want to do one fairly soon so as to fight my inherent slothful tendencies.
There is one coming up, fairly close to my home, within the time and budget constraints I was looking for. However, it's a women's only event. I don't know why, but this distinction has me slightly put off. I don't know, I just hate the idea of exclusivity, plus it's fun to run with all kinds of people, not just those qualified for (and specifically drawn to) events that are exclusive in the demographical sense.
Still, it looks like fun and so I'm still on the fence... what's your take?
I have done both womens only and unisex events. While part of me doesn't understand why it's ok to have women's only events and not men's only events, I also kind of understand that many women feel as though unisex events are really 'mens only', so they feel alot more comfy with women's only events especially when they're unsure of themselves as athletes.
I think women's only events are very important, because it gives many women an opportunity they wouldn't have because they might be intimidated by the heavily male presence that is pretty much a part of most events like this.
But then, again, I thoroughly enjoy uni events, and like pitting myself against men. I love the feeling of smoking a guy in a race. I kind of feel like women's only events are more introductory events, and you'll see that many of them have that emphasis. That doesn't make them a bad thing, even if you're not a beginner.
I guess I'm just saying that women's events are great, as long as you don't ONLY do women's events. But it is a pretty different vibe from a unisex event, so you get a different perspective on competitive sports.
Anyway, don't mind the rambling, I'm a couple guinnesses down so not being very succinct am I?
I do think that women-only events are somewhat strange, but I would not hesitate to participate in one in the situation you describe.
I can see that women-only event might draw in someone who is easily intimidated or reluctant to participate in a unisex event, and that's good. I also think that females-only events have a different atmosphere-- more supportive, more community-like-- instead of the testosterone-dripping vibe of the male event, and I know a lot of women who find the support and friendliness of females-only crowd to be very important.
But I am competitive and not easily intimidated, and I feel that I push myself more when there are all these strong guys that are setting the pace. So I prefer unisex comps-- even if the results are tabulated separately for men and women in the end.
Women's only events get a really high turn out. A lot of women must feel more drawn to them. Even if you're not into it your self just view it as a great opportunity to meet more people into the same things as you. Go for it!
Before I started climbing, I played very competitive tennis. A lot of competitions were mixed and a lot were "women only." I quickly found out that the "women only" does not necessarily mean "weaker" and "watered down" or "lesser" or somehow more "touchy-feely." In these instances, it meant that highly competitive women were competing against each other in a competition that happened to be women-specific and were generally interested in kicking ass just as much as when they were competing in mixed competitions.
Based on that, I generally think that "women's only" events are an interesting way to squeeze in one more competition or one more event that you're eligible for. I don't think it's inherently "weird".
First, congrats on your first 1/2 marathon. That's my goal...seems my knees, at the ripe old age of 24, are not too willing to carry my body nearly that far. BUT THEY WILL, eventually.
As far as women only events go. I definitly feel that women only is a good thing and does not imply watered down, bring your tu-tu and favorite blankie. Now, there are certain things that I feel that men and women excel equally at, say dressage riding or mathematics, but when it comes to physical competitions such as running, or rock climbing, or what-not men and women ARE different. It really isn't fair, in a competition scenerio, to pit a 5' 2" female up against a 6'2" male and expect them to do equally well and the same routes. Just the same, I don't feel that it's equally fair to pit that same 5'2" female up against a 6'2" male who's legs are much longer than hers therefore causing her to take more steps to cover the same amount of distance...then say that men and women are built equal. Just the same as in horse racing, they weigh the riders down to the heaviest rider so that no one horse can be the fastest since they're carrying the least amount of weight.
See what I'm saying yet? You should compete, you should run your best time, and you should be proud that you did it. I would be!!
I personally like the mixed events because the guys running with their shirts off totally make all that training you did worthwhile.
Also, for anyone (like ZenelKY) who is running consistently, I seriously recommend that you get custom made orthotics (not the take home and bake kind). Yes, they are expensive, but surgery on damaged knees/hips costs way more. I run a great deal and my pain was eliminated with these.
Hmm, I don't know if I agree with this. If it's a problem that's all huge dynos, maybe... but then would a 6'2" woman be at the same disadvantage? I think overall women hold their own in the rockclimbing world. Don't forget that for years Lynn Hill was the only one to free climb the nose, and she's pretty tiny.
With marathon running, it's interesting, because I went and looked it up and the difference between the male and female world records is not as substantial as I thought it would be.... it's about 9 or 10 minutes and has gotten continuously smaller over the years. Paula Radcliffe is 5'8", Khalid Khannouchi (male) is 5'5" so I'm not sure the longer legs theory holds much weight in distance running.
Anyway, I think that if the women-only thing is the only thing holding you back, well, go for it. I personally wouldn't look specifically for women-only events, but if I came across one that sounded fun I would do it.
Whoa... didn't mean to start the whole 'are women equally strong climbers as men' debate!
However, I think that brings up a good point. My gyms have inter-gym competitions that are a blast. Everyone (men and women) climbs together, but they are scored differently, same as in the running events I described. That I think is fun. It's not the differentiated scoring; it's the outright separation that disinclines me from participating in women's only events. However, I also see my shortsightedness, and I feel as though I should at least try one and see how it goes. (After all, 13.1 miles is 13.1 miles, regardless of who you're running with.) Besides, I have to rack up as many 'halfs' as I can this year, while I'm still in the 20-24 division!!
i have some vials of flies that are women only.... everything with boy bits goes to the morgue...
um, i've never participated in a women's only sporting event, now that i think about it. i've never sought that out, and they havn't really come to my attention, with the exception of the sterling ropes things.
i'll weigh in with the "i'd do it if an event came by that sounded fun, but i wouldnt seek it out" camp.
that being said, i labeled one of my fly vials "michigan womyn's festival."
I have to rack up as many 'halfs' as I can this year, while I'm still in the 20-24 division!!
I've seen many women get faster with age so it's nothing to worry about. Just keep laying the foundation.
LOL... that's exactly why I want to stay in this division... at the one I just did, there were 2 of us in 20-24 and 18 in 25-29... when they metabolism starts hitting a low, ladies start hitting the pavement!
Having run a few marathons I asked myself would I have not run the ones I did; Dallas and San Diego, if they were women only? Probably not the San Diego but would have done the Dallas marathon. San Diego was the inaugural Rock and Roll marathon where as Dallas was home.
I say go for it. It is a personal challenge to train and run the milage and who you run with is secondary.
I've done several general-admission races; one time I did a Danskin triathlon, which is a women-only event.
I think if your goal is to run a certain distance, then it probably won't matter if it's a women-only event or not. I didn't really notice any big difference in the dynamic, except that in the Danskin tri there really was more of a supportive, "we can all do this" kind of feeling to it. But I dunno if all women-only events are like that.
This year i'm doing my 2nd tri, which is double the distances of the Danskin and it's not women-only. It will be interesting to see how the experience will differ for me (mostly I think it's just going to be a lot harder!)