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Everything You Need to Know About WOW’s 2023 Break Down the Barrier Trail Running Scholarship

Trail running is THE BEST SPORT EVER.

Okay, we’re probably a bit biased. Still, there’s so much to love about it: the physical challenge, the breathtaking scenery, the feelings of empowerment and strength when you reach the end of a particularly difficult section of trail, the rad community support, and so much more.

Our love for trail running and the trail running community was a huge part of why we started Women of the Wasatch in 2020. Another key motivation was helping to make the sport more accessible, specifically for women-identifying and non-binary folks. This year, we’re excited to bring back our Break Down the Barrier Trail Running Scholarship, which allows us to break down the monetary barrier for trail running in our community.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about this scholarship, including why it was created, what gear is included, and how to apply!

What is the Break Down the Barrier Trail Running Scholarship?

Many of us have heard the saying, “All you need to run is a pair of shoes.” Yet, even some dedicated runners have trouble affording running shoes–not to mention, a separate pair specifically designed for trail running! Not to mention, once you start signing up for races or going on longer-mileage ventures, the gear–and accompanying costs– really start to add up.

From hydration systems, to running packs, to headlamps, to nutrition and electrolyte mixes, new runners could be looking at hundreds of dollars in gear just to ensure they’re safe and prepared on the trail. Throw in the fees associated with running a trail race–which can run from fifty to hundreds of dollars–and it’s clear that a financial barrier exists in trail running.

Layer this on top of the other financial barriers that many women-identifying and non-binary folks already face–from the costs of feminine hygiene products, to the gender pay gap, to expenses associated with pregnancy and motherhood–and it’s clear why money could be a barrier for some individuals trying to break into trail running.

That’s why we created this trail running scholarship: to support women-identifying and non-binary individuals by minimizing the initial financial barrier needed to begin trail running. Our goal for this scholarship is to provide gear and other support (coaching and race registration) to women who otherwise might not be able to afford it. This way, they have the necessary gear to hit the trails, as well as a goal and support system in place (because let’s be honest, we all need goals to keep us motivated!). Through this scholarship, we’re able to further our mission of empowering all women to take to the trails and to help decrease the gender gap in trail running.

What Does the Scholarship Cover?

We are offering three scholarships to women-identifying and non-binary runners who are facing financial and other barriers in pursuing trail running. One scholarship will be reserved for an underrepresented runner in the BIPOC, LGBTQ+, or adaptive communities.

Included in each scholarship is:

  • A pair of HOKA shoes from any Salt Lake Running Company store (SLRC offers free fittings to help you find the best shoe for your needs)

  • A running vest from Ultimate Direction

  • $75 gift certificate for Gnarly Nutrition

  • $50 gift certificate for Salt Lake Running Company (for inserts, socks, a good sports bra, or anything else in-store)

  • An entry to a Utah Cirque Series race (Alta, Brighton, or Snowbird)

  • A Cirque Series training plan from Tara Warren at On the Mountain Coaching

  • A 2023 Racin’ Grayson Training Log + Planner

  • Assorted goodies from Kodiak Cakes

  • A Chirp wheel

  • A Ciele hat

  • A Cotopaxi bag

  • A pair of Pit Vipers

How Do I Enter?

Our recipients will be selected based on their demonstrated passion for trail running and financial needs. These will be evaluated based on two short essays. Each essay will contribute to 50% of the total score and will be judged anonymously by the Women of the Wasatch team.

Trail running experience is not required to enter–just a love for moving in the outdoors and the desire to take that passion into trail running.

Each essay has a word count limit of 500 words. While all essays must be in English, we understand that English may not be your first language and will take this into consideration when evaluating them.

Essay 1: What does trail running mean to you?

In 500 words or less, write an essay that explains what trail running means to you. Use the questions below to guide your response.

  • Why do you love the trails?

  • What excites you about trail running or being active outdoors?

  • What do you love about running, hiking, or any other endurance activity?

Essay 2: What barriers, financial and other, have you faced in pursuing trail running? What would receiving this scholarship enable you to do?

In 500 words or less, write an essay that explains the financial barriers that have made it difficult to break into trail running and what this scholarship would enable you to do. Use the prompts below to guide your response.

  • Describe some financial burdens or barriers that you face.

  • Describe any other barriers that have prevented you from trail running (lack of knowledge, lack of diversity in outdoor recreation, access barriers, etc.)

  • What has prevented you from pursuing trail running or making it one of your main activities?

  • If you currently participate in outdoor recreation, what difficulties have you faced in acquiring your current gear?

Apply Now for WOW’s 2023 Scholarship

The scholarship application is available from March 1st, 2023, to March 30, 2023. You can apply at this link. All applications will be anonymously reviewed from April 1st - April 10th and selected recipients will be contacted in mid-April!

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