Celebrate powerful run stories this International Women's Day
Five women from across the globe share their proudest movement moments.
In honour of International Women’s Day, a global observance that celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of women, Brooks is highlighting five strong and determined women runners. We asked them about their proudest running moments, and they shared their experiences of overcoming injuries, the unique challenges they have faced as women in the sport, and their uplifting advice for other women on the move.
Join us in celebrating the strength and perseverance of women everywhere.
From newbie to unstoppable
Rahema Mamodo, a Run Happy Team member from the U.K., took up the sport in her late 30s to inspire her three girls. She primarily runs on roads with an occasional trail run and enjoys taking part in parkrun weekly as a runner and volunteer. “My children motivate me to run, I want them to see that runners come in all shapes, colours, and sizes.”
Proud movement moments: “There are several memorable moments in my running journey. One of the most significant was completing my graduation 5k run non-stop at a local parkrun after starting Couch to 5k with zero previous running experience in just 7 weeks. Another is my most recent achievement of completing the London marathon, only my second marathon, and smashing my personal best by 30 minutes. These experiences have given me more self-belief and a feeling of being unstoppable. To push myself even further, I have signed up for my first ultra-marathon of 50km of trail running in 2023.
Participating in major races is important to me, as I want to see more people of different shapes and sizes on race start lines. I want to inspire others like me and that’s why I put myself out there. Becoming a run leader early on in my journey is also a huge milestone for me. It gave me the chance to encourage and inspire others to move and run. A run leader provides a safe and enjoyable running experience for adults of any ability. This covers risk assessment, warm ups, cool downs and leading fun running sessions for mixed-ability runners. One of the main reasons for qualifying as a run leader was to help my friends achieve their goals by giving them the right advice. Supporting each other makes us a stronger force, and I feel immensely proud to kick-start others onto their own running journeys.”
Just keep stepping
Shana Goodridge is a runner, wife, mother, and IT professional who resides in Canada and loves being outdoors and building community. She founded Pegcity Steppers, a group which inspires new runners and walkers to jump-start a new lifestyle and keep moving.
Proud movement moments: “I used to go walking in my neighborhood and see runners along the way, and I was always impressed by their grace as they glided through each stride. I was always intrigued, but never considered myself a runner because I thought you had to be at a certain fitness level or physique to be considered one. However, my friends convinced me to do a 5K fun run with them and that experience changed my view on running completely. It was challenging, but I was happy I did it, because after I crossed the finish line, it changed my outlook on running. From that experience, I realized that there were people of various fitness levels at the start line, and it was not just about what place you crossed the finish line, but more about the mental and physical journey as you challenge yourself to do something you never thought you could do.
Since then, I've run several distances such as 5 km, 10 km, half marathon, and I am currently training to run my first marathon in 2023. Each time I cross the finish line, I get a sense of accomplishment and pride, because I see how far I’ve come from feeling intimidated to feeling empowered. On this journey, I have not only improved personally but have shared this with other like-minded individuals. This journey has inspired me to start a running/walking group called Pegcity Steppers, to help inspire and motivate people who feel like I used to feel —intimidated — to get started on their journey. When I see how much the group has grown over the past few years, it makes me feel very proud.”
Follow Shana on Instagram and at pegcitysteppers.ca and keepitmovingwithshana.com.
Changing the game
Vanessa C. Peralta-Mitchell is a run coach , host of The Female Coach L.E.A.D. (Leveraging-Educating-Amplifying-Diversity), and creator of the Game Changers program, of which Brooks is a proud sponsor. As an advocate for women of colour in the running space, she’s redefining the run industry and bringing in a wave of much-needed change to run leadership.
Proud movement moments: “My greatest running achievement by far has been creating the Game Changers program, which empowers women of colour to make the leap from runner to certified run coach. But if you looked back 18 years, you would have never thought the running newbie before you who was running laps in her baggy sweats, old kicks, and oversized hoodie would one day be a run coach, business owner, and industry disruptor. Even six years ago, you would have never thought the mom of three who quietly and unnoticeably sat in that run coach certification room would one day be a leader, an amplifier, and a force for propelling change.
But somewhere along this run journey, I found my voice and started connecting the dots of how being a voice for my Spanish-speaking mom enabled me to amplify the voices of others. I realized that the voices unheard in the room resonated with me to my core, and I no longer wanted us to wait for our turn to be heard. So, when our data shows that 89.5% of our Game Changers have gained confidence as a run coach and half of our coaches have started or expanded run businesses as a result of our program, I know we are growing the running space with strong, confident women of colour, leaders who are making their mark, growing the sport, and impacting the industry with a force that is changing the game.”
Follow Vanessa on Instagram and at vcpm.com/game-changers.
The next generation
Gisella is a young runner from a small town in the Midwest United States. She has always enjoyed running and racing with all her friends and family. She participates in Marathon Kids — a national youth running program sponsored by Brooks — and loves the challenge of a good run.
Proud movement moments: “I have loved running for as long as I can remember. I practice running on hills and flat surfaces, and I always try my hardest and never give up so I can get stronger. I enjoy racing my mom and dad to become a better runner. I entered my first track meet when I was eight years old. I felt confident about the races but also scared. I ran the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, and 400-meter dash and won all three of them. I was very proud of myself because I gave it my all, even when the races were difficult. I am excited to continue running and competing in more races!”
The youngest woman to run an ultra on all seven continents
Jacqui Bell resides in Brisbane, Australia but can be found living from her van a few nights a week by the beach, surfing and running or out on the trails running and hiking. Nature is her happy place. “I love running on trails or by the beach! I am hooked on the feeling I get when I run, nothing compares to the endorphins post run.”
Proud movement moments: “At 22, I knew I needed to change direction and find a physical goal to challenge myself. I had never run more than 50 km and had only $500 to my name, but I decided to take on Racing the Planet's 4 Desert Grand Slam, a 250 km self-supported race across some of the world’s harshest deserts. I also wanted to raise over $25,000 for The White Cloud Foundation, a mental health charity. By the end of 2018, at 24, I had raised the funds and became the youngest woman to complete the 4 Deserts. In 2019, I continued my journey by signing up to run a multi-stage race across New Zealand, Iceland, and the Grand Canyon, and by the end of the year, at 25, I became the youngest person to run an ultra marathon on all seven continents. It took a lot of hard work, persistence, and consistency, but it was an incredible journey.”
Follow Jacqui on Instagram.
We hope these five women have inspired you to celebrate your own proud running moments and the women in your life. International Women’s Day is an opportunity to recognize the strength and perseverance of women everywhere, and we’re committed to empowering women in the running community. Learn more about Brooks’ commitment to champion the run for all.