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Out of the box: Wild Women Running go ultra

Meet the Wild Women Running group, a community dedicated to empowering and growing the confidence of women through trail and ultra running, and support. We put their name to the test, by challenging them to run an ultra marathon in our newest shoe – straight out of the box.


“Running has a beautiful way of bringing your guard down, allowing you to be vulnerable and share with those around you while you're outdoors. Nature and running are powerful healers.”


The Wild Women Running group is on a mission to increase confidence and self-esteem through trail and ultra running and support. Connection not competition. 


What started out as a simple birthday run between three friends has grown into an all-female community with more than 600 members.


“Wild Women Running is a welcoming space to share miles, empower one another and grow in community and connection with other women – on and off the trails,” says Bri Sullivan, who founded the Phoenix-based group in 2019.



“It came from a need for a place where women could come together to run together on the trail, even if they were inexperienced or brand new to the sport, without judgement. It also provides a place to celebrate, encourage, support and share with one another, vulnerably.


“Women are free to share their fears, their struggles, their goals, their successes, their passions and hardships here.” 


Running might be the glue that holds Wild Women Running together, but this is only part of their story. They also offer retreats focused on empowerment and self confidence, and produce and share content supporting growth, education and connection. 


“I think the best part about Wild Women Running is the deep friendship and sisterhood that comes from it. It’s a fire that has never been put out and it keeps growing. I was almost drawn to seeing women more than running! I think women crave connection like this,” says Racheal Turner, who’s been a part of things from the start.


“I’ve met some of my best friends in this group, and I’ve accomplished some of my biggest goals with their support and encouragement.” 


“We are all about living in community with one another. We're a place of support, refuge, love, laughter and adventure and foster a beginner-friendly culture of vulnerability and authenticity with the intent of growing together,” adds Simone Federici, another member.



Off to a quick start


It turned out that with the weekly run and focus on being positive and supportive, Bri and her friends had unwittingly discovered something that hundreds of other women in their area felt had been missing. Through social media and word of mouth, news about the group spread. Very soon, things started to gather momentum. 


“It all began as a simple run with two friends that we decided to make a weekly tradition. But more and more ladies showed up each week and from here we’ve gone on to enjoy many beautiful runs, amazing sunrises, camping and run trips, and finish line cheer stations together,” says Bri. 


“I have gotten to meet, befriend and admire more women than I can even count.”


“In the early stages we were shocked at how quickly we were growing, and it really surfaced the need for a community like this in the area,” says Simone.


“We were blessed by how much interest there was and the culture that Bri and others have created has sustained organic growth even through COVID when we went several months without meeting up in person.” 



Growing and healing together


“I remember my first ever trail run, my first thoughts were always 'I'm too slow' or 'I can't do this' but those narratives didn't stand a chance of surviving in this environment,” says Racheal.


“The group showed me what it means to trust in my ability to do hard things, and provided me with a space to heal from some of the hardest challenges I was facing in my own personal life.” 


“We always say, 'come as you are' – everyone is welcome, no matter if you're happy, sad, stressed, excited. You've got people to show up for you. People who’ll support, encourage and empower instead of tearing one another down, being competitive and leaving others out.” says Bri. 


“We are better together. We are more than divisions and competition. We are stronger, braver, better by each other’s sides.” 


“Growing this community has been an unexpected but incredible opportunity. I’ve been in awe of amazing accomplishments, been nervous to meet up with women I look up to, asked for advice, support, forgiveness, acceptance, encouragement. I’ve seen breakthroughs and breakdowns. I’ve seen goal chasing and the beauty of rest.”



But, sometimes, being bad feels pretty good…


Conventional wisdom suggests that running any race in a new pair of shoes is something you shouldn’t do. So the idea of running an ultra marathon in the desert is, well, even more out there. But we thought if anybody would be up for the challenge, then the Wild Women Running group were probably our best bet. They didn’t disappoint.  


Traversing a 50km single track desert trail filled with technical ascents and descents, located inside the White Tank Mountain Regional Park, Bri, Racheal and Simone took on rocks, sand, cacti, gravel and some epic mileage in the Mesquite Canyon Trail Runs. All while wearing a brand new pair of shoes they’ve never tried before. 


That’s right. It’s the return of the Out of the Box challenge. But this time, it’s our ultra-distance running shoe, the Cloudultra, that’s being put to the test. 



What did they think about the challenge?


“I was so excited when Bri asked me to be a part of the Out of the Box challenge. It made my first official ultra extra special. I think the best part of it was being able to enjoy this day with two of my best friends. I have never done anything like this before and being chosen to be part of it was surreal.” – Racheal 


“I was nervous as I hadn't been training for this race (or any in the near future). When I was approached I got excited and nervous. I knew I had to do it! I’ve never run a long distance in shoes right out of the box and was nervous about blisters, slipping, soreness in my feet...all of it! However, I didn't have any of this happen.” – Bri


“Well, I was already a loyal customer of On shoes – the Cloudventure and Cloudstratus are two of my favorites – so when the opportunity to try a new pair of shoes presented itself, it was a no-brainer for me. Going into the day I didn't have any concerns, I just thought it was such a fun addition to my first ultra trail race.” – Simone



And how did the shoes do?


“The shoes are fast, and gave me the perfect amount of grip and support. Throughout the run my feet felt great. Not to mention they look fresh – I love the black and white color scheme. I was a big fan of the plastic piece at the base of the laces that flips to give your feet a little extra room when they inevitably swell. It was a hot day and I appreciated the extra room, especially in the second half of the race.” – Simone


That “plastic piece” would be the brand new FlipRelease™ tool and, just like Simone says, it’s designed to expand the fit if feet swell during your run. 


“I loved the shoes. I didn't get any blisters or feel any pain in my feet. They were very supportive, and I loved that I was able to loosen them as my feet swelled. I felt very secure on the more technical parts of the trail. 10/10 for me – I’d highly recommend them to anyone.” – Racheal


“The shoes got tested on all kinds of terrain and I never slipped and I felt supported throughout. I love their versatility and strength. Firm enough to cushion sharp rocks and cacti but flexible enough to move around on technical terrain. They fit like a snug sock, so I did go up a half size, but once I did, they fit very well.” – Bri 


If you’re interested in finding out more about the Wild Women Running group then make sure to check out their social media channels or official website.


The Cloudultra
Swiss-engineering molded by mountains. Discover our first shoe made for ultra distances. Cushioned, comfortable, versatile. For runners who demand more. Featuring the revolutionary FlipRelease™️ system.
The Cloudultra - a versatile and comfy ultra distance running shoe

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