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How Team Milk’s Every Woman’s Marathon Is Redefining the Race Experience


, by Fabienne Lang

Photography courtesy of: Every Woman's Marathon / Team Milk

Signing up for your first marathon can feel like stepping into a whirlwind of emotions. Questions about finishing within the time limit, or managing breastfeeding on the go can loom large, making traditional marathon events seem daunting.

Historically, women have been underrepresented in long-distance running – all you have to do is look around you at the start line of a marathon event – but that's changing. In the U.S., the percentage of female participants in marathons has grown from 11 to 45 percent in the last 42 years. Factors like the passage of Title IX, movements for social justice and women's liberation, and the commercialization of running events have all played a role in this shift.

An additional element is a rise in events designed for inclusivity.

For Women, by Women

Take Every Woman’s Marathon, powered by Team Milk in Savannah, Georgia. Scheduled for November 16 this year, this marathon stands out for its inclusive approach. It's not just a race; it's a supportive community where women of all abilities and speeds can come together to celebrate movement.

Find out more about Every Woman's Marathon powered by Team Milk

Team Milk is deliberately putting emphasis on what women might need or want in a marathon: “From the very beginning, we started with brainstorming meetings about what it would look like to have a marathon that women wanted to participate in,” recounts Alison Mariella Désir, author of “Running While Black” and an advisory board member for Every Woman’s Marathon, powered by Team Milk.

“And then we started thinking about some of the obstacles to women participating. Things like time limits. What if there was a marathon that provided ample time for people to not just run the course, but walk the course?” With a generous course time limit of seven hours and 45 minutes, there's no pressure to rush through this run. As Alison underscores, "This is about celebrating movement, not about winning the race."

Photography courtesy of Team Milk

Leaving no stone unturned, the organizers then wondered: “What would it look like to create a community environment where women were able to support other women through their training?” says Alison. Enter: Team Milk, a community-led by women and boasting over 20,000 women marathon runners. Team Milk plays a pivotal part in bringing this marathon to life, and, upon registration, participants gain access to the Team Milk community. Here, runners receive pre-race expert tips, gear drops, post-race recovery, and unwavering support throughout their running journey.

On top of that, Team Milk focuses on the original fueling and recovery drink: milk. Why milk? Aside from providing 13 essential nutrients to fuel your body, hydrating you better than water, supporting your immune system, and helping your muscles recover and grow stronger, it also supports bone health and strength – which is especially vital for women as they start to lose bone at a younger age than men. The versatility of milk is wonderful. You can add it to oatmeal, cereal, tea, smoothies, scrambled eggs – you name it. By working alongside such a health- and female-focused organization, Every Woman’s Marathon, powered by Team Milk is looking out for its participants both inside and outside.

Join the Team Milk Club on Strava

It's clear to see that what sets Team Milk’s Every Woman's Marathon apart is its genuine commitment to inclusivity. From portaloos stocked with essential female products to comprehensive training and nutrition resources tailored specifically for women, this event “is a recognition that marathons and races can do more to center our experience and invite women to be part of it. That’s what Every Woman’s Marathon is about,” explains Alison.

On top of all of that, the race day atmosphere promises to be electric, with cheering squads and music lining the course. And, after crossing the finish line, runners are treated to an unforgettable post-race party featuring local cuisine, live music, and a cozy lounge area.

Every Woman’s Marathon is a recognition that marathons and races can do more to center our experience and invite women to be part of it.

Whether you're a seasoned runner or new to the sport, Team Milk welcomes you with open arms: “Our goal is to get more women out there, experiencing the sense of joy and community that comes with completing a marathon.” It's these small yet vital touches that make this event stand out from the rest to be more welcoming to women.

An Ever-Moving Sport

Alison believes the sport is still evolving: “I think there is this pushback happening where people realize that running can just be about the movement for movement’s sake and that everybody should be able to participate.” The idea that running is solely about speed is giving way to a broader celebration of movement for everyone.

“Women really see what it would be like to be in a space that is empowering, where we can show up as our authentic selves, where we feel safe, where we feel celebrated,” explains Alison. “With a race like [Every Woman’s Marathon] one that empowers and excites women - I believe we’ll start to see a shift in marathon participation, and we’ll see more women taking part in the marathon, and that will have ripple effects through the industry.”

Embrace Movement with your First Marathon

If you’re still unsure about signing up for your first marathon, we get it, it’s daunting. After all, it is a big commitment. Just remember that with the right support and preparation, it's entirely achievable.

Take Every Woman’s Marathon, Powered by Team Milk: “If you start [training] now you have eight months ahead of you,” assures Alison. “Part of the role of the advisory team is to provide support for all types of people signing up for the race. I’m going to focus on newer runners and walkers, moms, people who need more support. Deena [Kastor] and Des [Linden] will look at people looking to set PRs. The whole idea is that there will be support for you whatever your entry point is.”

Alison further explains that “this is the marathon with one of the longest course limits there is. For people concerned about running the whole race that’s not something you need to do. You can walk, run-walk - you can take as long as you need. This is about celebrating movement, not about winning the race. So if you’re on the fence or you think it’s not for you, if ever there was a marathon for you this is the one.”

Photography courtesy of: Team Milk

With the added benefit this marathon presents of working alongside a supportive community like Team Milk, you also get access to expert training and nutrition guides. Fueling your marathon journey goes beyond just lacing up your shoes; it's about giving your body the proper nutrients. This is where Team Milk stands out by providing nutritional milk-based recipes put together by experts and athletes alike, so you’re in control of what you put in your body and can train and recover to the best of your ability.

Through Team Milk you become part of a community of women runners from around the world who support each other. You get women-centric gear to elevate your runs and make them more comfortable. At select races, you get access to the community’s recovery lounges, DJ sets, snacks, and all the comforts a woman needs.

With marathons like this one available, it’s the perfect chance to dip or re-dip your toes into the long-distance running scene and feel supported from Day 1.

Ultimately, signing up for a marathon should be about embracing the experience, finding joy in the journey, and celebrating the strength and resilience of women runners. So, if you're hesitating over that "Sign Up" button, remember: you're not alone, and you're capable of achieving more than you think. And remember that on race day, you'll be surrounded by a community that celebrates every step of your journey.

Every Woman's Marathon powered by Team Milk takes place on November 16 2024 in Savannah, Georgia. Register now.

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