Distance festival serves to empower women, says organizer

For the past decade Lisa Unger, has been Race Director for Women’s Distance Festival. Her main focus has always been promoting better health and fitness for women. This event has been showcasing women of all ages for 28 years from distance runners to the typical everyday women that want to be more active in outdoor sports and activities. The annual Women’s Distance Festival here in Tallahassee, FL is a popular event that encourages local residents to participate in more outdoor running.

“I run, but I don’t participate in the races, I’d rather see more participation in women and children. My job has been making sure every participant is recognized for their hard work.” One of the major accomplishments that this festival has done is giving back through the TMH foundation which is over seen by Unger.

“We also have newer programs, a group called “Black Girls Run” which is a FAMU grass-root uprising, has been around for about 5-years, and one of the many new ways to get FAMU more involved” said Unger.

This festival is geared toward bringing awareness to the Tallahassee community while promoting more women in sports. This free event is a well-known 5K and 1mile run held annually. Here women and men, of all ages, showcase their talent while challenging their time as they participate in this race. This year’s event was no different. The women, who often outnumber, and out run the men, participate in the event yearly. It allows runners to become one with nature, with a special twist which allows the women to start five minutes before the men.

With well over 75 participants, it grows bigger every year. WDF started with the RRCA (National Running Club) to celebrate the advent of Title9, and ladies entrance into the high school sporting arena. Women’s Distance Festival advocates lady athletics while encouraging them, young and old, to stay healthy and fit.

Anna Busby, a Tallahassee native and floor manager at Capital Runners Club, was this year’s first place winner with an overall time of 20:45. Busby wanted to challenge her time by running a sub 21:00 minute.

“It was my first time running the Women’s Distance Festival, great race overall. A well planned, fast course. My Goal for this race was fitness wise. I managed to accomplish both of my goals, so I was very pleased. I will definitely be out there next year hopefully to hit a faster time on this course.” said Busby.

The second and third runner’s up were, Laura McDermott (21:41) and Tiffany Roddenberry (21:44), both Tallahassee residents.

The festival strives to inspire more women, and families, to engage in more community events such as this one. Rewards of healthier hearts and bodies are key goals for most runners.