She.is.beautiful has come a long way over the last 8 years. In particular, I think our image of “Girl Power” has shifted, and this concept has changed in the media as well. The conversation around race and privilege has made strides, with more room to grow. Topics like vulnerability, bravery, and gratitude have surfaced thanks to authors like Glennon Doyle, Brene Brown, and Elizabeth Gilbert. Many might argue that these powerful words have become trendy. Good – I can only hope for more people to talk about these topics so we can all understand each other more. In fact, the more we understand each other, the more we often learn that most of us are really just searching for more love, the feeling of being heard, and a better understanding of the world.
To our participants that have joined us over the years, we thank you for being part of the process. In the same way humans evolve, the She.is.beautiful brand itself has continued to change, learn, and grow. Think back to your adolescent or young twenty year-old self. Most of us made mistakes and learned from them (at least eventually). Looking back over the years, there are a few moments that we put our hands on our heads in the same fashion you do when you think of memories where you did things simply because you didn’t know any better. Awareness and experience, this is how we all learn.
As a 23 year-old starting She.is.beautiful, the concept was very clear to me: share with other women and girls the way running and sweating made me feel. To create an in person community in a world that seemed to becoming more and more virtual. Empowering females of all levels to be inspired to bring more fitness and self-love into their life, as I was (and still am!) so convinced of its power to change all aspects of your life. To lift each participant’s whole self to higher grounds. The stronger and more confident women and girls feel in their bodies, the more likely they are to take greater risks and opportunities in school, sports, or their career. The more likely they feel good within themselves, the kinder they will be to others, the more good they will bring into the world around them. I experienced this first hand in my own life, and I was inspired to share and celebrate this feeling with those who already had this lifestyle, as well as those who were searching for it.
Think back to 2011, the year She.is.beautiful started: Adele and Lady Gaga were just becoming mainstream, it would be a year before Instagram would be founded, and it was the last year of the Oprah Winfrey Show. As a 23 year-old white female, our branding and marketing were based on things that spoke to me (like most twenty year-olds do, right?!). I also wanted the event to feel the same way that both running and Oprah’s show made me feel over the years: Inspired, joyful, hopeful.
In a time before inspirational sayings filled your Pinterest page, our course was filled with signs of coined motivational mantras and fun sayings. Amongst our first year signs was “Run like Ryan Gosling is at the finish line with a latte.” To this day, I would very much not mind if Ryan Gosling was actually at the finish line with a latte for me, BUT before the second year of the event we became more aware and realized: 1. Our motivation to do things shouldn’t be to impress those of the opposite sex, and 2. Not everyone is attracted to the opposite sex…c’mon sister. (Insert palm to 24-year-old self’s face here).
If you’ve been with us since year one, you have hung on tight through grammatical disasters. We are not perfect but each year we look to improve on all fronts. As you cringe at the site of a grammatical error, we’re hoping our love kept you coming back. Our arms are wide open each year, ready to love you!
We’ve changed our courses to accommodate the requests of our participants, local law enforcement and jurisdictions, and neighbors. We’ve worked hard to fight for courses that respect others but also have epic ocean views. There’s more logistics that go into this process than many people realize. We are grateful to the cities we work with who have met with us time and time again to create safe spaces.
Over the last eight years we have grown – as individuals at She.is.beautiful and as a brand. A few of us have become mothers and this itself has opened our eyes up to a whole other perspective. Also, in the world and in the media, Women Empowerment and Girl Power has evolved. I think (I hope) girls are becoming more aware of their power at a younger age. I think many parents are becoming more aware of their influence and how to speak to their offspring about gender.
Let’s talk about privilege and race. The topic of privilege has become more openly talked about. We understand that many people who make time to run, are privileged. We understand many events cater to a privileged audience. At She.is.beautiful, we do our best to open our registration at an affordable price – not because we don’t believe in the value of our brand but because we want to have an inclusive environment.
Our event has become more diverse over the years. In 2017, 38% of our participants stated “Hispanic or Latina” as their ethnicity. 47% stated “Caucasian or White” and the other 15% varied. We are not perfect and we know this. We continue to help grow this area. We hope the population of our community continues to evolve to reflect the world around us. We will be opening 10 scholarship entry spots that we will be taking applications for (stay tuned to our Instagram to learn more about this program).
Let’s talk about pink. We understand what pink used to represent. “Pink it and shrink it” was a term often used in marketing to women. This phrase basically meant to take any item on the market, make it smaller and pink, and women will buy it. She.is.beautiful adopted the pink branding because to us pink is bold, strong, and, to be honest, we think it’s a fun color. We have people give us feedback that having so much pink is the opposite of the strong empowering message we embody. Often times these comments are before they participate in our event and then once they participate they often see how very different She.is.beautiful is compared to their initial judgement. But we’ve taken this feedback, we’ve thought about doing a massive rebrand. But for us, we think pink is…well, badass. We’re keeping it. We’re refining it. In fact, if you’ve been a part of this event, together we are and have been redefining beauty for 8 years.
We are excited to launch the 8th Annual She.is.beautiful Santa Cruz 5k and 10k registration on Wednesday, October 25th 2017 at 7:00AM. As always, the first 1,000 registrants will get the Early Bird Registration Price. Our 2018 race date falls on Saturday, March 17th 2018, which happens to also be St. Patrick’s Day. This happened one other year in the past and we stuck to our traditional branding but added some lucky flare in the mix. It’s going to be awesome and we hope you’ll join us!
As we wrap this up, we want to say this: We thank you for being a part of this community that is larger than just a race. We thank you for continuing to show up for life in the way you do. We thank you for growing with us, for sharing with us, and for inspiring us. We’re all in this crazy beautiful, hard, messy, amazing life, together.
Sweat and Dreams,