Dirty Girl - Waukesha, WI August, 2012
I spent my Sunday morning this past weekend with 20.000 women at the Dirty Girl Run at the Waukesha County Expo Center in Waukesha. I went in support of my wife and her friends who as a team of 12 or so women, chose to run/walk the course together. If you haven't heard about it, it is a non-competitive event that covers 3.1 miles and is riddled with obstacles that the women must climb over under and around. It's a bit like a 5K obstacle course. The event is intended to raise money for Breast Cancer, but I think ultimately it does much more.
What I saw on Sunday was women having an absolute blast, challenging themselves, encouraging one another and getting pretty dirty along the way. Some did it to stretch themselves beyond their comfort zone, others for something different than another 5K, still others did it just to have fun with their friends. All of them however did something in the name of breast cancer support. And while I've heard people question what percentage of the proceeds this and other cancer runs actually donates to cancer research, I don't think that is the point here. The point is women empowered. In these times of "the war on women", it was refreshing to see an event where they and their efforts are the focal point.
I have to admit, I was a bit ill-informed as to the competitive level of the event going in. I thought it was going to be a full-on run, but after watching it, it was just a case of too many people. There were too many backups at the obstacles to really make it a "timed event". At the same time, I don't think that's what it was meant to be about. It was about goal setting, achievement, accomplishment, and self realization. All of these women were pushing themselves in one way, and you cannot knock that.
What I loved about it was there were women of every size, age race, and fitness level competing. Thin, heavy, tall, short, black, white, old and young. There was music blasting at various locations and the mood was festive, to say the least. My wife was a sport about the whole thing and did every obstacle thrown at her, which is a stretch for her and I recognize that. I am proud that she not only had the guts to sign up for it in the first place, but to actually complete it.
I've run into a few people that say they "don't get it, I guess" when I tell them what the Dirty Girl Run is all about. The people that don't get it, don't get "cancer" and how much it sucks. They don't get how doing something bigger than yourself once in a while might make you a better, more humble person. They don't get how relationships and friendships are sometimes strengthened when people encourage, support, challenge and cheer each other on in a team spirit at these events. They don't get it because they don't want to get it, and you know what? To each his/her own.
The whole thing got my son Ben to thinking he wants to try the Warrior Dash next year. That is a somewhat more competitive, co-ed event that I am thinking I may do with him. It would be a good chance to push each other in a competitive environment. We'll see.
In the meantime, I want to say to all the women who did the Dirty Girl this year, Congratulations and Thank You for doing your part to beat cancer. You are awesome.