Today Rock/Creek, a leading outdoor clothing and gear retailer, announces a new Women’s Trail Running Summit, to take place near Chattanooga, Tennessee from August 22-24th. The Summit arose from a need identified by Rock/Creek Race Team member Erin Hannen, who specifically noticed the lack of women at trail races. Together with Rock/Creek co-owner Dawson Wheeler, they dug deeper. As Wheeler explains: “We looked at the numbers both nationally and regionally for women participating in trail races, then compared them to same-distance road races. And female participation was really low — so we decided to do something about it.” Erin, Dawson, and several Rock/Creek staff met, brainstormed some possible explanations, and hypothesized that the biggest concern for women might be in venturing into the woods in training for these races, rather than any issue with competing in the the races themselves.
To get to the bottom of this, Rock/Creek, in conjunction with several trail runners, developed a survey about women in trail running to find out more about underlying motivations and hesitations. Due to an overwhelming response from almost 700 survey participants, the next step seemed obvious. They thought that hosting an event could make an impact. They invited some of the most energetic, enthusiastic, and passionate female trail runners to come together to build new connections and discuss ways to welcome more women to the sport of trail running. As Hannen explains: “We hope to build trail running ambassadors and encourage them carry their love for trails out to their communities in order to nourish the sport.”
And so, the Rock/Creek Women’s Trail Running Summit was born!
It didn’t take long to gather a group of passionate trail runners, who are already advocates for the sport, to contribute to the summit, Hannen says. The leadership team consists of Erin Hannen and Elizabeth Orvis (formerly Callaway) from Atlanta, GA along with Dreama Campbell and Ginny Kelly from Chattanooga, TN. “It’s a event by women for women,” Hannen states.
The schedule is shaping up to be a lot of fun: from trail runs in Eastern Tennessee to swimming and stand-up paddleboarding on the Ocoee, to good food and new friends. With all the outdoor play time planned, participants shouldn’t forget there is more involved in the inaugural Rock/Creek Women’s Trail Running Summit: The aim is to discuss some of the apparent barriers to female participation in trail running and postulate ways how to bring these boundaries down. There will be talks about injury prevention, proper stretching, safety issues and proper gear. Yoga clothing brand prAna will bring an early morning yoga session to the summit and Smartwool will talk gear with the runners. The summit in August will also provide an opportunity for a new network of trail running women to be formed. Beyond that, the organizers hope to motivate attendees to extend this new network by acting as ambassadors to the sport.
The organizers have gone through some race results, volunteer lists, and survey results and have selected a few people from different running backgrounds, age groups, and geographic regions. In order to ensure the most diverse group of women for informed, productive discussions, these selected individuals have been invited prior to the public opening. While space is limited by lodging capacities, hopefully there will be a few spots up for grabs come June 10th at noon when the event opens to the public.
About the Instructors:
About Erin Hannen:
Erin is a New Jersey to Atlanta transplant and Rock/Creek Race Team member who’s been running cross country, track, roads, and trails for over 10 years. As a mountain-wandering, outdoor-loving trail chick, she takes to the wild expanses of North Georgia to balance out her busy life as a biomedical engineering graduate student. She’s always trying to convince road-running pals to lose their inhibitions, “take a walk on the wild side,” and jump on the trails.
About Dreama Campbell:
Growing up, Dreama says, she wasn’t much of an athlete. Although she loved the outdoors, she didn’t start running until she was almost 29 years old. While not being able to run a whole lap on the track at the beginning, Dreama transitioned from roads to trail in 2014 — and her life changed to the better. Since 2010, she has been a Rock/Creek race team member leading weekly trail runs in Chattanooga. She loves to bring new people into the sport and introduce them to trails they didn’t even know existed. Some of Dreama’s proudest moments are: 5 time Ironman finisher, Pinhoti 100 mile trail race, Laurel Highlands 77 mile trail Race, several 50 mile trail races and a few dozen 50k distance events. Dreama also is a certified personal trainer, certified spin instructor and run coach.
About Ginny Kelly:
Ginny is an active member in the Chattanooga trail running community and has been running trails for 4 years now. She is a former cross-country state champion, has won the Georgia Jewel 35 miler, taken 3rd at the Rock/Creek StumpJump 11 miler, 3rd at the Cumberland Trail 50K, and has many other trail and road finishes. Besides running on the trails, she finds nothing more pleasant than to volunteer at numerous trail running events from dusk to dawn. Cheering on others to reach their fullest is equally satisfying to her. Ginny believes that trail running brings a certain adventure that can’t be experienced in any other sport. It provides beauty, fitness, and friendship all in one place.
About Elizabeth Orvis (formerly Callaway):
Elizabeth is a Rock/Creek Race Team member and has been on the team for 3 years. While running is her strongest passion, she loves all outdoor gigs including cycling, climbing, and water sports. Elizabeth is often ‘one of the guys’ while in the outdoors, but is always seeking out more female companions to join in on her adventures and outings. She just graduated from Mercer University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, and this foundation has led her to strive for promoting health awareness and preventative strategies in all aspects of life both indoors and outdoors especially for the female athlete.
Rock/Creek is an independently-owned specialty outdoor retailer based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. With over 25 years of brick-and-mortar experience and a growing online gear store, the Internet Retailer “Second 500” retailer offers only the very best outdoor apparel and equipment from top brands like Marmot, Horny Toad, The North Face, prAna, Salomon and Smartwool. Besides trail running, Rock/Creek’s experts service travel, hiking, backpacking, camping, climbing, kayaking and SUP, tenkara fly fishing. Rock/Creek’s staff love seeing ordinary people do extraordinary things in life through outdoor recreation.