What do you get when you bring together nine women in skirts and running shoes? - the Skortaholics!
Since March is International Women’s Month, I thought it’d be fitting to celebrate an amazing group of marathon running women! The Skortaholics are no wilting flowers – no way! They’re all super busy professional women with families, yet still find time to run marathons - in skirts and skorts - and so the name Skortaholics! Although each took up running at different stages in life and for different reasons, they’re all clearly committed to running and to each other.
So what’s running marathons got to do with traveling? Glad you asked! The Skortaholics travel around Kentucky and surrounding states running an unbelievable number of marathons and relays, in addition to 10K and 5K races. The season is grueling and hectic, but they do it all with a smile and a skirt!
I posed about a half dozen questions to the gals, and the answers are remarkably similar in their support for each other and from their families. So, here’s the interview and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
And now……. Drum roll please……Introducing the Skortaholics (in their own words!):
MB: Late bloomer runner (the year after college)
Sandy: Started running at age 50
Annette: Started running at age 27
Deborah: In my mid-30’s, I got tired of the gym and tried running. I hated every step of my first 1/2 marathon training.
LA: Started running when I was 20 and couldn’t make it a quarter of a mile.
Christine: I started running in college for stress relief and to get healthy. My competitive side came out, and I began to run half, then full, marathons
Mindy: A Mom-has-to-get-done-early-so-she-can-make-it-to-20ish-soccer-games-kind of Runner
KB: Started running the same month I started law school.
Jenny: Started running at age 35 – inspired by my son’s love of track & cross country!
Who is the person who tends to motivate everyone?
We all motivate and support each other. We all have bad runs, bad days, or injuries. We try to rally around one another, but MB is the head cheerleader. She is so in shape and always understanding and positive. The Skortaholics was her idea. Not sure how she did it, but she also somehow persuaded us to become race directors of an annual 5K.
What race did you run that you thought you'd hate, but actually loved?
Annette: I always thought I hated 10Ks until I ran one at the Flying Pig Challenge last year, right before running a 5K and a half marathon the next day. Turns out, I kind of like that distance. I had only run one of our local 10Ks over the year.
Lisa: The Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon last fall. We were all together, so I knew that was going to be fun, but the elevation map was very difficult to read. We kept thinking it was going to be super hilly and running up mountains, etc., but it was flat and beautiful and we had a blast!
Jenny: Hood to Coast - I was worried about the downhill grade, but it was fun to get some really fast pace on a relay type race!
Deb: I think we all have a love/hate relationship with the Bourbon Chase. It’s a 200 mile relay race across Kentucky, following the Bourbon Trail. The weather, the hills, the lack of sleep….it’s probably a miracle that we're all still friends!
Sandy: I can’t think of a particular race that I thought I would hate. I was terrified of running one of my legs in the Bourbon Chase Relay. My second leg was a 5 mile run at 2 am. I don’t see well at night and have a terrible sense of direction. I was sure I would trip over something or get lost. My teammates and people from other teams had to help calm me down before I ran that night. After finishing, I was so glad that I ran that leg. I'll never forget how peaceful it was - there was no noise, the weather was perfect, the moon was out, there was no one around me.
KB: I wasn't looking forward to the Backyard to Vineyard Challenge in Asheville in 2016. We did a half marathon on Saturday and full marathon on Sunday. The half was fun. The full was a nightmare – terrible rain, muddy course, gravel, everything you could imagine. But, we did it together and it was really fun!
How do you decide who does which race?
We start exchanging emails as early as October the year before! We try to do a few close to home races and one big travel race. We all have our own schedules and different desires for races, but often everyone picks a spring marathon and a fall marathon and then we coordinate training. We don’t ALL ever make it to the same race, but we like to keep our training schedules similar.
One person may have a lot of interest in one particular race and then we just join in. Or, if someone is working on a certain goal, that person will decide and if the others can join – great! Most of the time, we just say “this looks cool”. Then, it gets on the email circulation list. We also try to do things as inexpensively as possible, so we can do more than one race each year.
Some even pick a race based whether it’s a new state to visit. This year, we have our hopes set on Glacier Half Marathon in June!
How difficult is it to schedule your lives around races?
Many of us have family close by and supportive spouses. And some of us have quite a bit of work flexibility. For others, it’s more challenging due to work and family obligations. Race scheduling can be difficult because race sign ups take place 3-6 months in advance. Not everyone knows their schedule that far out, but we have to register early to make sure a race doesn't sell out. Sometimes, non-runner family members and friends just think we’re crazy!
Is everyone's significant others on board with your running? Are they runners too?
Some have significant others who are runners, and even run races with the group (in skirts), while others have spouses who are not runners. The big thing that everyone has in common is that all the couples are active and understand the level of commitment needed to train and run races.
Of course, even a notorious “wardrobe malfunction”. One time, Annette forgot her skort and had to run (literally) to the sporting goods store at the last minute to buy one!
How would your life be if you didn't have this group and this outlet?
We would be crazy!! And we definitely wouldn't be able to run so many marathons or have so much fun!!! The emotional support, laughs and regular exercise are so important to good physical and mental health!
Anything people should know about you all?
We love our running clothes and our sponsors!
Wanna follow the Skortaholics? Click here! And, here’s their race schedule, with commentary!
February 4 –Florida Best Damn Race (Safety Harbor)
March 11, 12 – Asheville Half Marathon. Last year we did the challenge -1/2 on Saturday, full on Sunday. It was sooooo difficult – It rained and we failed to read the course description…didn’t know it was on muddy mountains.
March 25 – Kentucky - Quarter Horse Marathon relay
April 1 – Kentucky - Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon. We do this one every year!
April 8- GO! St. Louis Marathon
April 29 – Las Vegas – Mt Charleston Marathon
May 27– Bayshore Marathon