Running Like A Girl

With International Women’s Day coming up on Thursday I thought I’d share my story and kickstart a national conversation that inspires more girls and women in our communities to step up and not be afraid to #RunLikeAGirl!
Share your story too! It can be about when you decided to run for student council or your community association, you changed the conversation at the boardroom table, you wore a tuxedo to prom, or how you were the first girl on the boys baseball team.
Let’s inspire each other!
When I was about 9, I played soccer in the summer for the Kirkendall soccer league at the Reservoir near my house in Hamilton. It wasn’t like organized soccer for kids nowadays. We all wore our crappy every day running shoes, any shorts that we could find and a really ugly Kirkendall t-shirt with our team colour on it. And it was co-ed. More boys than girls but we all played together.
I loved it! I loved racing down the field after the soccer ball. I loved being in the scrum where we all pushed each other over to get the ball. I loved trying to score. And of course, I loved scoring.
But the reality is that the boys dominated. Not because they were better. They were just louder and hung out in a pack. And some did not like girls like me. Girls who didn’t really think about the fact they were girls. Girls who were just part of the team. Girls who loved the rush of the game. Girls who played hard to win.
But the reality is that the boys dominated. Not because they were better. They were just louder and hung out in a pack. And some did not like girls like me. Girls who didn’t really think about the fact they were girls. Girls who were just part of the team. Girls who loved the rush of the game. Girls who played hard to win.
One day, one of the boys on my team who seemed to have a hate on for me hurled the ultimate insult. He told I ran like a girl. RAN LIKE A GIRL.
I knew what he was saying. That I wasn’t as good as the boys. That I wasn’t tough as them. That I didn’t fit in. That I should just get lost.
It’s funny looking back on how that experience shaped me. I decided from then on that to succeed, I needed to be just like the boys. I needed to be as hard core. I needed to be part of the pack. I needed to fit in. I needed to run like a boy.
So that’s what I did. Even when I was a legitimate grown up. I wore power suits. I worked late even when I wanted to be home with my kids. I defined success as being invited to the same clubs and being on the same lists as all the successful boys.
But one day, one harried day after having kids, I woke up. I decided screw it. I don’t care about any of these things. I want to do what I want to do. I want to be who I want to be. And I’m going damn well do it the way that I want to do it.

That’s the day I decided to run like a girl.