This past Saturday, Red Rocks Amphitheater, located just outside of Denver, Colo., was awash in a sea of pink race-day tank tops and positive energy as more than 2,000 women and a few men attended the inaugural Gildan Esprit de She at Red Rocks.
Esprit de She hosts nine other 5Ks, 10Ks, triathlons and duathlons around the country, and chose Colorado as the location for a destination event, incorporating a stunning backdrop, yoga and an intimate concert with singer and runner Jana Kramer.
“With Red Rocks specifically, we wanted a flagship event to celebrate our fourth season of Esprit de She,” says Lindsay Sachs of Life Time Fitness and founder of Esprit de She. “We’ve created a premium fitness experience where women can create memories, connect with others and make positive changes in their lives.”
At an elevation of 6,450 feet, the natural and acoustically perfect amphitheater is a bucket-list venue for musicians, as well as a killer place to get a workout. Saturday marked the first women’s-centric event in the venue’s 75-year history. Participants had the option of running the 5K or 10K road race, with pre-race Zumba to warm-up, plus join in on two yoga classes—which included partner poses, massages and dance intervals all led by Gena Caputo, founder of the Colorado School of Yoga in Boulder.
Alyssa Hill of Denver registered because of the run and girl power. “I really wanted to run a 10K,” says the 27-year old. “Red Rocks is an amazing place for a race, and I like that this is an all women’s event.”
Participants came from 35 states and three countries, including Kelsey Miller who traveled from Lubbock, Texas.
“I’ve been injured for much of the past year. This was a chance for me to get away, recharge and spend time in a magnificent place,” says Miller, 27, who attended both yoga classes. “Being outdoors, connected to nature and with so many other women is fabulous.”
The 5K began with about a mile of downhill, and climbed for the remainder of the course. 10K runners ran two loops of the 5K route, doubling their descending and climbing fun. Racers described the courses as beautiful but hard, especially as temperatures reached the upper 70’s.
“This was much harder than our normal running route,” says 51-year-old Desiree Barrett of Denver, who convinced her running group to attend. “It was a fun way to spend the day with friends, empower each other and visit lot’s of women’s-specific vendors.”
In spirit of supporting one another, members of Girls on the Run of the Rockies, the charity partner for the event, were at the finish line to hand out medals.
While the courses may have been challenging, Sachs says the goal of Esprit de She is to inspire first timers and give veteran athletes an opportunity to have fun with their friends.
“We welcome walkers, joggers and runners,” Sachs says. “This an elevated race experience tailored to women and a celebration of achievement.”
The event village, called the Lifestyle Market, even had massages, hair braiding and manicures included with race entry. It’s not often you leave a race looking and feeling better than when you arrived!
To learn more, register for 2017 and check out other events in the Esprit de She series at espritdeshe.com.