For Sandra Calkins, her motivation was self-competition. “I actually just run to beat my past times and not really to compete with others.” She enjoyed her race experience and stated, “The food was great, the setup was great, workers were nice and I would totally do it again.”
Gina Kugler signed up “Because I’ve never done a race before.” Iron Girl was a good choice for her. “Because it’s all girls, I feel it’s less intimidating. And it’s local.” Just the participation in running in the race is her reward. “I’m looking forward to the end, when I can say I did it.”
With all the women lined up at the starting line, the national anthem was sung by Roxy Kerr, a Canadian-turned-Clearwater local. The announcer offered a few words of inspiration: “Today is for you. Have a kick-butt run.” The race began at 7:30 with a loud quack from the Aflac duck instead of the traditional air horn. Fathers, husbands, brothers and children were left on the sidelines holding signs of encouragement that read, “You Go Girl!” and “Run, Mommy, Run!”
The winners of this year’s race were Christa Benton from St. Petersburg for the 10K (6+ miles), and Maria Ghizzoni, also from St. Pete for the 5K (3+ miles).
The Iron Girl race is in its sixth year and has events in ten cities around the country, including Las Vegas, Seattle and Denver. Iron Girl was created to “empower women to live a healthy lifestyle,” says Jessica Weidensall. “Our goal is to provide that competitive platform, offer a challenge that is still fun.” Each competitor receives a metal, a complimentary post-race breakfast and a reusable goodie bag. To find out more about Iron Girl, visit www.irongirl.com.