After founding women’s athletic apparel brand Skirt Sports, former professional triathlete Nicole DeBoom was constantly besieged by women asking for a different form of help. They wanted to become runners, but didn’t know how to get started. Nicole decided to use her company’s resources to create a unique program for women that would allow them to break down their personal barriers and create new identities for themselves through running.
“There were hundreds of excellent running programs, but they were all missing one important aspect – accountability,” said Nicole. After reading an article about the power of checking in with a guide during fitness programs, Nicole realized that the key to success would depend on the concept of one-on-one mentors. “We call them Personal Motivators. These are women who have found strength, courage, confidence and happiness through running, and who want to share that passion with other women who needs it,” says Nicole.
In 2010, Skirt Sports launched a cause-driven marketing program called Kick Start in which fifteen beginner runners were paired with mentors as they prepared for their first 5k event in Denver. The results were incredibly powerful with 100% of the beginners citing the one-on-one relationship with their Personal Motivators the primary key to success. As 2010 Kick Start graduate and Running Start Board member Jennifer Olivas says, “Kick Start changed my life. I was stuck. I needed a change. I always wanted to become a runner, but I wasn’t sure how to start. The program gave me a new lease on life. Running has provided a new foundation for me both physically and emotionally. I now call myself a runner.”
After five successful years, the Skirt Sports Kick Start program is branching out on its own as an official 501(c)(3) organization with a new name under the non-profit umbrella and tutelage of the RRCA (Road Runners Club of America). As a non-profit, Running Start will now be able to accept donations and grow at its own rate, and will not be constrained by Skirt Sports time and resources. “We just received our first grant. We will use it to provide a broader range of resources for women to improve their lives, including running shoes, gear and health screenings,” says Nicole.
The inaugural Running Start program is now accepting applications for up to 20 of each Beginners and Personal Motivators. Training will begin in April and culminate in a 5k run at the Skirt Sports 13er & 5k event in Louisville, Colorado on June 12, 2016. Currently the program only exists for Colorado residents but there are plans to expand outside the state based on interest.
Running Start Beginners
Women looking to start on their journey can apply here. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RunningStartBeginner
Become a Running Start Personal Motivator
If you are ready to motivate and help change someone’s life, apply here. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RunningStartPersonalMotivator
For more information on Running Start, visit their Facebook Page, or contact:
Nicole DeBoom, Running Start Board President