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First Time Running With Women of the Wasatch? Here's What You Should Know

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

Hi, hello, and welcome to Women of the Wasatch! We’re so glad you’re here.

We’re going to go ahead and guess that, if you’re reading this, you’re interested in what our group is all about. Maybe you’re an avid runner who just moved to northern Utah, a more recent mountain transplant looking to dip their toes into trail running, someone who knows about WoW but is hesitant to attend a run (We get it! It can feel intimidating!), or a local looking to connect with other rad folks in a safe and welcoming space. Whatever the reason–we’re excited for you to learn about our group, and hope you’ll join us as we explore and enjoy the beautiful mountains we call home.

In this post, we’ll give you the rundown on everything you need to know about Women of the Wasatch, as well as what to expect on your first group run. Ready? Let’s dive in.

First things first: What is Women of the Wasatch?

Women of the Wasatch is a northern Utah-based trail running group that focuses on empowering women to take to the trails. We have chapters in Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Draper, and offer weekly runs to folks of all backgrounds and levels. We welcome all women-identifying and non-binary people who are comfortable in a space centered around women's running.

Even more than our love for trail running and enjoying the mountains, we’re passionate about building a community that’s supportive and fun. We cheer each other on, support one another through the fun parts (flying downhill) and the less-fun parts (erm, uphills…), and push each other to accomplish great things. Whether you’re someone that’s training for a 100-miler, a newbie trail runner looking for support, or somewhere in between, there’s a place for you in our community.

Okay, I’m interested! What should I expect on a Women of the Wasatch run?

Like many (okay, most) of us before we went on our first WoW run, you probably have some questions. We’ve got you covered! Here are the most common ones we hear, and some advice to set you up for success.

What are group expectations when you run?

  • Never run alone! This is especially important when it’s dark. If you end up behind the group you started the run with, please slow down and join the group behind you. Each Tuesday meetup offers at least one group that runs at party pace. This group is for anyone looking to mix hiking and running, embrace a recovery jog, or rock a pace that supports connecting and chatting with those around you—and it ensures no one runs alone!

  • Prioritize trail respect. If you see trash, pick it up. If your dog poops, do the same. If the trails are muddy, know that we will turn around so we don’t destroy them. Trail stewardship is core to what we do, and we strive to leave places better than we found them!

  • Bring appropriate gear. If running trails, we recommend trail running shoes. In the winter, layers (and hats, gloves, etc.) are a must, as well as a headlamp for when it’s dark. Depending on the length of the run, you might want water or a snack!

When and where do you run?

We offer meetups in Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Draper, with some in the mornings and others after work. Check out our events page to learn more!

Do you host runs all year?

You betcha! We adjust which trails we run based on weather and conditions, so be sure to check out our events page, join our Discord, or sign up for email updates so you can stay in-the-know.

How difficult are the runs?

Everyone has a different concept of difficulty, so this one’s tough to answer. Depending on our meetup location, options range from three to seven miles, and from about 400 to 1500 feet of elevation gain.

We can say with confidence that there’s a place for everyone on a WoW run–whether you’re a speed machine, or you prefer to walk more than run!

What should I wear? Bring?

Show up as you are and with the gear you have: We never want gear to be a barrier to folks attending our runs! That said, there are certain items we recommend that can help you feel prepared:

  • Appropriate shoes – trail running shoes can help with traction and stability on steeper sections (if you’re wearing road runners, that’s totally cool too! Just be extra cautious so you don’t slip)

  • Taller socks (if running trails–they’ll help protect your ankles)

  • Layers (especially during winter)

  • Headlamp (essential during winter, good to have the rest of the time)

  • Hat/buff and gloves (again, mostly a winter thing!)

  • Skin protection (sunscreen, hat, etc.)

  • Safety kit (bandages, pain killers, etc.)

  • Water and/or snack (depending on your preference/how long you’re planning to run)

  • Device with route downloaded (you never know when you might not have service!)

Does everyone run together?

We break into groups of 15 or less to run at different paces and spread out across trails. Our reasoning? We want to minimize the impact to wildlife, trails, and other folks getting out and enjoying nature!

That said, no one should run alone. This is both for safety purposes and because community is central to our runs (nothing like swapping life stories on a roll-y run through the Wasatch, amirite??!) We offer at least one run per meetup that is party pace, which celebrates running at any pace and ensures no one runs alone. If you become separated from the group you start with, we ask that you slow down and join the group behind you.

Tell me more about WoW’s party pace!

The party pace is for anyone who wants to celebrate being out in the mountains and moving their body, rock a recovery jog, be able to scream-sing TSwift at the top of their lungs, or run at a pace that allows them to focus on chatting and connecting with others. At each of our Tuesday meetups (and at some of our other events), there’s a designated party pacer to lead this crew. They keep hype levels high, encourage walking as needed, and ensure no one is out there alone.

And who are these party pacers, you might ask? They’re volunteers within WoW!

If you’ve attended runs and haven’t been a party pacer yet, we’d love for you to consider volunteering. It’s a great way to hold yourself accountable for attending (especially during the darker and colder months), as well as an awesome opportunity to meet new people! And if that wasn’t enough: Our party pacers also get entered into our quarterly WoW drawing for rad swag and gear!

I’m still a little intimidated–any recommendations?

Come to one of our meetups! Seriously.

Showing up is the hardest part. Trying new things can be scary (even for adults!). If you’re worried about not knowing anyone, needing to walk more than run, or being a newer trail runner, know that many of us have been in the same boat.

At the beginning of our runs, we always take the time to do intros and share a bit about ourselves. That way, everyone can connect with those around them (and find a buddy to run with!) before we begin.

More than a running group, Women of the Wasatch is a community–and we’d love for you to be part of it.

Ready to hit the trails with WoW? Here’s how you can join.

We hope this post helps give you a sense of what to expect on your first run with Women of the Wasatch. Here are a few ways you can stay updated on all the latest WoW happenings:

See you on the trails!

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