October 1, the date of the Skirt Sports Skirt Chaser 5k Denver, is fast approaching. In case you haven’t been paying attention, the Skirt Chaser 5k is, believe it or not, a 5K race. But not just any race. Women of Denver will begin the race at 3pm and their skirt-chasin’ other halves (or soon to be other halves) start at 3:03pm. After we race our asses off, we’ll cross the finish line at Invesco Field and meet up with our supporters in a celebratory block party for eating, drinking, and mingling with That Eighties Band playing live. All I’m sayin’ is I had better hear some Journey.
I was fortunate enough to be able to catch up with Skirt Sports founder Nicole DeBoom this week and we chatted for a few minutes about the race, her bun in the oven, and the fact that sometimes all you need in life is just to feel pretty, dammit.
Late in 2003, Nicole was out on a winter training session (oh yeah, did I mention Nicole is a professional tri-athlete and Ironman champion?) “I looked at my reflection in a store window, you know, as we all tend to do when we’re running, and I looked like a boy!” Nicole says. “I wanted to feel prettier. The word pretty swirled in my head the rest of the way home. If something as small as what I’m wearing can change my attitude, there’s no telling what else it can do.” A couple sketches, a few months, and voila! Skirt Sports was born.
As a competitive runner and athlete, Nicole was sponsored by many clothing companies. However, none of them combined feminine, sexy fashion with performance, so that’s where Skirt Sports came in. Apparently, the feedback was almost immediate. “Women would say to me, ‘What took you so long? I’m so tired of wearing these clothes that make me look and feel like a boy!’” says Nicole. “The inspirational piece is very rewarding.” This in turn motivated Nicole to establish a stronger community for athletic women—first with the Kick Start mentor program, where women are paired up with other running coaches.
Nicole started to think about the competitive races she participated in. “You’d be shuttled around, do the run, then you’re finished,” she says. “Running is supposed to be fun, even if it’s for one night.” Enter Skirt Chaser. She wanted to build what she called a “social running experience,” an opportunity for athletes, with a focus on women, to interact on a level that went beyond just slinging beads of sweat at each other. Add burgers, beers and boys. “It was meant to inspire women or anybody really. If you’re having fun, you’ll be more likely to keep up an active lifestyle. You can be competitive if you want. You can be flirty. It’s a women bonding moment.”
Come join me at the race on October 1 (sign up here) and holla at yo girls Nicole and me. She probably won’t be running in the race as she’ll be about seven months preggo, but she’ll be there supporting all Chasers and Chasees. As for me? Catch me if you can.