A day-long fitness and grassroots activism event on August 12
Mark your calendars: The Run 4 All Women California will take place on Saturday, August 12th, and will benefit Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest! The event is self-directed along beautiful, coastal San Diego. No fee or registration is required.
The Run 4 All Women was founded in January 2017 by Alison Désir when she ran from New York to the Women’s March on Washington. The event is dedicated to engaging activism and empowerment through fitness, and advancing conversation around women’s issues. To date, the group has raised over $104,000 for Planned Parenthood.
Amy Abrams and Whitney Baugher, local distance runners and volunteer ambassadors, were inspired by the first run and selected to lead the 40-mile, self-directed group run/walk though the coastal communities of San Diego — one of five Run 4 All Women events in the US this August.
Amy is a social worker and marathon runner. She’s been running since she was 11.
“My stepdad recognized that I was an anxious kid who needed to feel good at something,” she said. “He signed me up for my first 1-mile race, bought me pink running shoes, and made a big deal out of my accomplishment.”
She first came to Planned Parenthood as a young patient.
“My family didn’t have much health insurance coverage, so Planned Parenthood was where I got my health care in high school, college, and grad school,” Amy said. “It was a critical safety net for me.”
Her mom worked for an ob/gyn who performed abortions, and while growing up, Amy didn’t realize that reproductive rights were an issue.
“Then in college, I realized Oh — not every woman has access to services. It became a flashpoint for me. We can’t have conversations about taking health care away from millions while simultaneously taking away their safety net! This really triggered me.”
Amy has completed 20 marathons all over the country. “I use them to travel!” She said.
She doesn’t have children herself, “But my nieces, their children…they, and every woman, should have a clear sense of control over their own bodies, well-being, and fertility.”
Whitney is a mental health advocate, trail runner, and Native American who grew up on the Cahuilla reservation in Riverside county.
“There was a lack of resources,” Whitney said. “Planned Parenthood wasn’t necessarily on the radar.”
She didn’t become an athlete until later in her life.
“I’ve never been athletic,” Whitney said. “I was overweight and struggling with my mental health. I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety my whole life, and one way to manage that is through running,” she said. “The benefits outweigh the pain I go through.”
Whitney started running in 2012 and now runs ultra-marathons. The longest she ever ran, in June, was 64 miles in one day.
She wants to represent her community in a visible, palpable way.
“I want to put Planned Parenthood and activism on the radar for women who don’t get out there as much. I’m not sure how many Native women will come out; I just want to put it on their radar.
“Women of color in the spotlight meant a lot to me,” she said. “I tend to stay quiet. I’m not a person who marches. But if these women were going to be running for us—then I can too. The women definitely outshine the men in my family. It took me a while to understand that was inside of me as well.”
The Run 4 All Women includes:
- A 40-mile group run from Encinitas to Chula Vista, with meet-up stations every 3-6 miles along the route. The slow-paced, scenic run will depart at 6:00 a.m. and finish at the Chula Vista Marina View Park around 5:00 p.m.
- A coordinated group walk along the final 4 miles of the route, making the event accessible to participants of a variety of fitness levels.
- Friends, family, and allies are encouraged to gather at the Chula Vista Marina Park to greet runners and walkers for a finish-line rally, to raise their voices together in solidarity.
Amy said she’s “freaked out” about running the entire 40 miles of the Run 4 All Women.
“You can do it,” Whitney said.
Join Amy and Whitney on this empowering day!
Additional details and sign-up is available on the event’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/run4allwomencalifornia.
Tax-deductible donations to Planned Parenthood in support of the event may be made at: www.crowdrise.com/r4awca.