March is Women’s History Month, so I want to take the opportunity to highlight a woman who is making an impact in the running community.
Allyson Felix is an incredible example of women standing up for equality in sports. Allyson is one of the most decorated track and field athletes in history with a world-leading 12 gold medals at the World Championships, besting Usain Bolt’s record of 11. In her prime, Allyson was one of the best sprinters in the world.
Allyson was a high-profile athlete endorsed by Nike for years, but Nike only wanted to pay her 70% less when she hit a certain age because the company thought her performance would start to dip. After that time, Allyson got pregnant and gave birth to her first child. In women’s competitive running, it is tough to find sponsorships after having a child. Instead of signing with a company that didn’t see potential in her because she gave birth to her daughter, she signed with Gap’s Athleta as the company’s first sponsored athlete. Athleta aims to “empower women and girls through sport.” Athletes are more valuable than their performance and Allyson chose a company that backs that up. She has changed the environment and protections for women athletes that have or want to have children during their careers.
Fight for what you know is right and stand up for those you support. Allyson knows that she and other women deserve to be paid during pregnancy even if they aren’t competing. Now Nike and other sponsors have clauses in contracts to protect female athletes if they can’t compete due to pregnancy. Allyson was surrounded by other track and field athletes to help change the sport for the better. When you surround and support others who are fighting, you give them the courage to continue. We each have a responsibility to help. There is inequality in the world and we all have a responsibility to make it better.
Women, you go through more than I ever realize and are stronger than you get credit for. Thank you for all that you do to make us who we are. We are here to support you and thank you for all that you do. Thank you to my mom, sister, grandmas, aunts, and cousins for being strong, encouraging women.
I appreciate you.
Also, Tanmay had me on his Hack the Industry podcast where we talked about running, a mindset reset, identity, and purpose that you should check out: https://open.spotify.com/episode/7tvHUvzl4Or3CAukk5N6Gd?si=hw2dJvygQxmG7H96VuofVw