Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Women’s-only clubs, races and retreats offer a supportive environment


Photo by Fredrik Marmsater.

Trail runners are generally friendly, fun and supportive. Still, the sport can sometimes be intimidating for women (or any beginners) to break into. To address that issue, several groups offer trail runs, races and other events specifically for women. “I never saw myself running a 50K or 50-miler, except in my dreams,” says Callista Salazar, 37, of Seattle, Washington, a member of the women’s trail-running club High Heel Running Group. “But watching a friend and fellow trail-running beginner finish [a 50K] showed me that such feats are possible for normal women with busy lives.” Whether you’re looking to enjoy the camaraderie of fellow female trail runners, to race an all-female field or to train with elite female runners and coaches on the world’s most beautiful trails, check out these options.


Indiana Women’s Trail Run
Sponsored by women’s-activewear company Athleta, this half- and quarter-marathon takes place each May at Eagle Creek State Park in Indianapolis, on popular as well as in less-visited sections of the park.india

Virginia Happy Trails Running Club Women’s Half Marathon

This low-key event, which has been going on for 22 years, will take place in early September, at Fountainhead Regional Park in Fairfax Station, Virginia. The race includes both a half-marathon and mother-daughter team competition.

Wild Woman Trail Marathon
This zero-waste event follows the trails of Gifford Pinochet National Forest, around the base of 12,276-foot Mount Adams in Washington State. Runners can choose between the marathon and 50K distance, or tackle the marathon relay in a team of four. wildwomanmarathon.com


Active At Altitude / Intermediate and Advanced Women’s Camps
May to September; $1,350  – $2,000
This series of eight-day running and conditioning camps in Estes Park, Colorado, offers women an opportunity to train at altitude with elite guest athletes. activeataltitude.com/camps-2/womens-running-camps-2015

Run Wild Retreats
/ Iceland Trail Running and Wellness Retreat
August 11-16 $2,900
On this six-day hut-to-hut trail run, participants visit volcanoes, hot springs and other natural wonders while learning about healthy running and overall wellness. elinorfish.com/event/iceland-trail-running-wellness-retreat

Molte Wellness and Adventure
/ Running Om Retreat
September 24-27 $1,295 – $1,565
The Running Om retreat takes place on a ranch in Ennis, Montana, and includes biomechanics and injury-prevention workshops with elite ultrarunner and coach Nikki Kimball, daily yoga sessions, freshly prepared meals and plenty of trail running in the Montana mountains. Mother-daughter duos can take a one-day introductory trail-running course in September at Lone Mountain Ranch. molteyogaretreats.com


Moms RUN this town
With branches all over the United States, this club offers free group runs, training programs and races for women—mothers and otherwise.

Running Grrrl
These grrrls, based out of Los Osos, California, use their passion for running to benefit the local community through charity races and volunteer opportunities. Group runs occur weekly, but the location varies, so check their Facebook page for updates.

High Heel Running Group
Described as “friendly” and “welcoming” by several members, this Seattle group holds weekly Saturday group runs, attends races, takes skill-building classes and celebrates with the occasional dance party.

This article originally appeared in our September 2015 issue.

Want to Know What It Takes to Finish at Western States? Just Ask Hellah Sidibe.

Find out what happened when this six-year run streaker and HOKA Global Athlete Ambassador took on an iconic ultramarathon in California's Sierra Nevada