Nearly 2,000 women from across the country will join together tomorrow at the ZOOMA Texas Half Marathon, 10k and 5k, which will be held in the heart of Hill Country at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines just outside of Austin in Bastrop, Texas.
The race weekend, which boasts events like "mocktail" parties, yoga sessions and post-race massages, brings to life the mission of ZOOMA Women's Race Series, the organization behind the race.
"I think my favorite thing about the ZOOMA race is the different levels of fitness and abilities," said Janet Carlton, who will be running the race with two of her girlfriends. "There seems to be a great sense of support and sisterhood among the folks who run this race – from the beginning runner to the seasoned athlete."
ZOOMA focuses on inspiring women to live healthy, happy and active lives through its boutique events in destinations like Amelia Island, Fla., and Napa, Calif.
"From the moment we get in the car and head to the race, it's all about supporting one another, spending time and just connecting with other gals who have a common joy. I love it," said Carlton, who ran the 5k last year.
Carlton will be participating in the race with her friends, Tiffany Dewald and Carollyn Fontana. Fontana also appreciates the camaraderie surrounding the race, but runs for more personal reasons.
"I know that running is going to help me live a healthier, active life, for however long that may be," said Fontana. "I want to remain physically active to be able to take my future grandchildren skiing, have adventures traveling to the ends of the earth and want to be able to hike to enjoy nature."
Mary Beth Jackson, blogger at Tutus and Tennies, will be running her second ZOOMA race this weekend and her first 10k.
"I love the warm community that comes out on race day – it is hard to beat," said Jackson.
ZOOMA Texas race weekend kicks off tonight at 7 p.m. with a its Honest Tea Mocktail Party at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines. On Saturday morning, races begin at 7:30 a.m. and will be followed with the ZOOMA After Party Expo, boasting recovery yoga, wine from Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, post-race massages, shopping and live music.
For those that will be running their first race this weekend, ZOOMA runner Jenni Kaiser Winterbottom offers sage advice.
"Don't start your race too fast," said Winterbottom. "Stick with the pace you intend to, and then after a couple of miles if you feel great, increase your speed. Most importantly, relax and have fun!"