Calling all Strong Women!

Real Women Real Adventures

May 23

What impact do you have on the lives of the people around you?

I suspect the answer is more than you can possibly ever imagine.

I’ve mentioned our #10kStrongWomen mission on the #SpartaChicks Facebook page a few times recently but wanted to take some time to explain why I was inspired to create it, to tell you how much this ambitious goal scares me (!), to introduce the brave, kick ass women who have already added their achievements to the list and to invite you to do the same 🙂

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from nearly 12 years around endurance sports and from 5 years of coaching women, it’s this:

The confidence, resilience and bravery you develop from sport creates a ripple effect into other aspects of your life and the lives of the people around you.

Confident, resilient women raise confident, resilient children.

They inspire their girlfriends to move past their own fears of judgement and to give themselves permission to “try”.

That’s why one of the goals of #SpartaChicks is to show that busy, everyday women like you and I can lead adventurous, brave lives and still pursue their goals. You don’t need to forget your hopes and dreams because you’re “grown up” and have responsibilities. And you aren’t being “selfish” when you decide to chase them. In fact doing so makes you a better, happier and calmer wife, daughter, mother, sister and friend.

One of the ways I want to recognise the inner strength and bravery of women is through our #10kStrongWomen project.

The idea is simple but far from easy - to create a list of 10,000 women over the next 10 years who have challenged themselves to try something new for the first time. It could be anything - from your first 5km run to your first marathon, your first open water swim to your first overnight hike, your first bike ride as an adult to your first 100km ride, a skydive, mountain summit, your first triathlon or your first Ironman, a canyoning trip, mud run, Tough Mudder, caving expedition or your first Parkrun.

But first, let’s cut some BS…

Interesting since I launched our 10kStrongWomen project, there’s been one comment I’ve heard more than any other: women telling me they are going to wait to add their name to the list until their achievement is better / faster / longer / more impressive.

I’m sorry but it’s a BS story you’re telling yourself. If we’re being honest, it’s probably just your fears talking. Perhaps your fear of judgement, of comparison, of feeling like a fraud (or any number of others). It’s ok, we’ve all got them! But if you’ve been around here any longer than 5 minutes you know I’m going to call it when I see it 🙂

We all slip into “comparison mode” from time to time (and sometimes, it’s a lot of the time!) when we compare our achievements to others and feel they aren’t - and, by extension, we aren’t - “enough”.

Good enough, fast enough, go long enough, are strong enough. That our “first” is too slow, too short or not that impressive. Generally not “enough”.

(Here is where I risk getting fired up - blame my Viking ancestry!)

I appreciate you probably don’t like tooting your own horn (as women, we’ve been conditioned not too).

But your achievement is your achievement - it’s a first for YOU. And it’s significance and importance is not lessened because someone else has gone faster, longer, higher, further or stronger.

Interestingly this fear also shows up when you (and I) use the word “just” when we’re telling someone what we’ve accomplished: It’s just an enticer. It’s just a 5km run. It’s just a park run. It’s just a 50km (I caught myself saying that the other day!)

As I said, bullshit 🙂

If it’s the first time you’ve done it, then it counts - regardless of whether it took 30 minutes or 30 hours or 30 days!

Life is a series of events and we are not defined by any single event - which is why you can continue to update your achievements and add to your list over time.

Not only will you exercise your bravery muscles by standing up and saying “this is what I’ve accomplished and I’m really proud”, you’ll help other women realise they are “enough” too. And imagine the ripple effect of change - and the example it sets - when thousands of brave, proud, courageous and resilient women stand up and say “this scared me and I did it anyway”.

The mission....

To be honest this mission scares the crap out of me as much as it inspires me.

10,000 is a heck of a lot of women. Between you and me, I’ve considered reducing the list to 1,000 to make it more realistic and achievable. But if together we can inspire one women to put her fear of judgement aside and give herself permission to try to achieve her goals, then I will be a happy women 🙂

While we have until 2026 to achieve this major goal, I’ve set myself an interim goal of having 500 strong women on the list by the end of October 2016.

Can we do it? Who knows! But we’re going to try.

If you have a recent achievement - a “first” - that you’re proud of, or you have a goal to achieve something for the first time, and you’d like to inspire, encourage and support other women, I invite and encourage you to either: 

* Leave a comment below, or

* Email me (Jen) on hello@spartachicks.com,

with your name, location and the achievement or goal you’ve set.

If you have a photo you’re willing to share, send that through too - and together we can inspire women all over the world to get in touch with their spunky, spirited inner 4 year old girl and chase their dreams.

Let me introduce you to the #10kStrongWomen already on the list ~

18. Sarah Allen – 1st Half Marathon, Canberra – April 2016.

17. Olivia Goodchild – 1st Ironman triathlon, Port Macquarie – May 2016.

16. Yvette Wareham – crewing a 60ft yacht and kayaking through glaciers, Antarctica - February 2015.

15. Andrea ‘Booz’ Deighton – 1st Nepean Triathlon, October 2016 (goal).

14. Clare Lewis – cave dive with sharks, hiked the Six Foot Track (w/ pack) and Coastrek (March 2016) – completed. 10 Peaks of Australia – November, 2016 (goal).

13. Naomi Warry – 1st Nepean Triathlon – October, 2014. 1st technology-free Half Marathon – Hawaii, April 2016.

12. Fiona Thomas – 1st summit of Mt Kosciuszko (proud mother/son achievement) – Easter 2016 and 1st Half Marathon, Glow Worm Tunnel – June 2016 (goal).

11. Naomi Liddell – 1st Half Marathon, Adelaide – August 2016 (goal).

10. Kirstie Ingels – 1st Half Marathon, Adelaide – August 2016 (goal).

9. Katie Tassone-Milligan – 1st Half Marathon, San Diego, California – March 2016.

8. Sue Devlin – 1st trail race, March 2016.

7. Monique Bortoli – 1st Six Foot Track 3 day hike (2015), RAW Challenge and 30km Coastrek (March 2016) – completed. Bay of Fires hike – 2016 (goal).

6. Natalie Schreurs – 1st trail race, Lake Crackenback - February 2016. 1st triathlon, Penrith - April 2016.

5. Elizabeth Stockell – 1st Sprint distance triathlon, Penrith – 2015.

4. Toni Robinson – 1st multi-day hike (carrying a pack) along the Jatbula Trail, Northern Territory (Australia) – 25th September 2015.

3. Michele Zammit – 1st City2Surf 14km fun run in Sydney - August 2015, 1st Half Marathon – Melbourne 2015.

2. Jennie Wills – 1st 100km solo running event at the North Face 100km – completed, May 2016.

1. Louise Kovacs – 1st 100km event at the Coastrek 100 – 5th March 2012.

I'd love to see your name on the list too - so please join us!