Women to Watch
Some names to keep your eyes on this year 👀
GIF by Laurene Boglio.
Hello, and happy new(ish) year!
If you’re new here, welcome! This issue looks a bit different than the previous ones: to kick off the year, I asked a handful of women in the running world to share their “women to watch” in the community right now. It’s an undeniably exciting time for the sport, and these women are just a few of the reasons why. And I want to hear more! If someone else comes to mind while you’re reading these picks, shoot me a note with your addition.
“Allie Kieffer is my pick for woman to watch! She is one of the top U.S. marathoners right now. I first admired Allie from afar, but then got the chance to live and train with her for a few days while we overlapped in Arizona. That was a magical time. We'd wake up, drink our coffees, and then head out the door to train before the Arizona sun set in. What was most moving to me was how much I could relate to Allie, which is what I think so many people love about her. She is unapologetically driven, while also being warm, approachable, and able to have a sense of humor about our sport and her process. Just feeling her drive and curiosity for the sport and her own growth convinced me she will keep developing in the months and years ahead. Plus, she's fun to root for—she fosters positivity around her and it rubs off on you! I felt lifted after our time together and hope we get to train together again.”
—Alexi Pappas, Olympian and filmmaker
Rebeka Stowe: “Nike coach, former Big 12 champion, Olympic Trials finalist, 7-time U.S. outdoor championship qualifier—Rebeka’s credentials and accomplishments are staggering, but she’s also about to drop a training journal that is going to change the game. Stowe isn't just a killer athlete (she’s training to qualify for the Trials again), she's a remarkable coach. Her philosophy is based hugely in sports psychology, and distills the life-changing elements we learn from running and pushing our boundaries down into a few months—from self-efficacy and focusing on process goals, to reframing and reflecting on how we see ourselves as athletes. (That goes for everyone, from brand-new runners to BQ'ers and OTQ'ers). Coach Stowe is someone to truly watch.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “I mean, if you haven’t seen the documentary about “Notorious RBG,” stop, drop, and go watch it right now. Love the opening few minutes with its music-video-style editing, with RBG working out at the gym in a sweatshirt that says “SUPER DIVA.” May her training keep her in good health forever and ever. *Fist pump*”
—Sally Bergesen, founder and CEO of Oiselle
Ellie Fox: “She’s a young gun out of Boulder, but currently living on the road with her hubbie and also elite trail runner, Tyler Fox. Ellie gives zero fucks about what anyone thinks about her running. She just shreds miles, vert, and new terrain. Constantly. We lived together for a stint (well, we were the girlfriends of an already overflowing house in Boulder) and when I'd be eating breakfast at 9 a.m., Ellie would’ve already run up Bear Peak (~3k vert), gone to work (she worked the morning shift at Trader Joe's), worked on her van, proposed to her boyfriend, and taken her little dog on a walk. She once ran up Bear Peak in slippers in the dead of winter. She is now being coached by my coach, David Roche, and it's like she realized that she can run really fast all of a sudden. A shredder I'm proud to know!”
—Clare Gallagher, professional ultrarunner
“One woman who is rocking my world right now is rabbit co-founder, Jill Deering. Jill is a MOTHER RUNNER. She just PR’d this past December at the California International Marathon in a blazing time of 2:48. PRing is amazing and all, but can we talk about how she just did this 8 months after having her first child? She is not stopping there. She is working her butt off to achieve her dream of getting the Olympic Marathon Trials standard. Between juggling a baby, the startup life, and her running, she’s an inspiration to so many women in our community.”
“Lornah Kiplagat was one of the best distance runners in the world, and a world-record holder in the half marathon. She saw that the potential for women's running in Kenya was enormous. She was very outspoken about the lack of training camps for women, and took her prize-money winnings and built a high-altitude training camp in Iten, originally just for women. At first her project was viewed skeptically. The camp has since grown into a world-class training center. She has an acute business sense, and a targeted philanthropic sense. She's one tough cookie, and I love her.”
—Kathrine Switzer, women's running pioneer
“If Megan Roche isn't already on your radar, she should be. Not only is she an encouraging, motivating coach with a medical degree, but she and her husband (and fellow coach) David just co-authored my new favorite running book, The Happy Runner. I credit Megan with coaching me through building my mileage, but more importantly with helping me form a deep love of running. So far, she’s guided me through two ultras, and I hope to work with her more in the future! I recommend her services to all my running friends.”
—Abigail Wise, online managing editor at Outside
“I am having a very hard time picking just one woman, so I think that's a great sign for the sport. But performance-wise I can't help but keep coming back to Molly Huddle. She's going to race a marathon this spring (I can’t say which one yet!), and my gut is that it's going to showcase what she can really do at the distance, speed-wise. She's a student of the sport and she's been learning the marathon over the past couple of years. Now it seems to me she might reveal a deeper understanding of it and combine that with her unquestionable talent. I'm excited to see her results.”
—Erin Strout, freelance journalist for Outside
As for me, I’ve had my eye on Allyson Felix, for her recent openness about her pregnancy and motherhood as a professional runner; and high school standout Katelyn Tuohy, who’s been racking up more accolades than I can keep track of.
Thanks for reading! Send me your picks, and I’ll be back soon with another dispatch. Enjoy your miles.