Sign up now for the Running Start Women’s Program

Registration for the Running Start Women’s Program is now open on GetMeRegistered.com. Sign up and let your friends know, too. Program registration is limited to 75 women*!

*Not a woman and want to participate in Running Start? A co-ed program will run June 26-August 28! And if you’re up for a 10K, that program will run May 8-July 31. Details to come soon on PGRC.org!

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30 Responses

  1. There was a question some time ago asking where are the men in the PGRC program? Well this “Running Start All Women” program is not a way to attract men to join the PGRC. Why would you have this?? On another thought, if there were a guy in one of the leadership positions this program would have been voted out. Men start the program but the way it’s being ran, it pushes men away. I’m also thinking about running away.

    You have Ladies Night @ Pacers, huh??

    I have been in the program for nine months and signed for 2-years. I have participated in 3 races/3 programs (Running Start, 5K, 10K); these programs are not geared to men. My first race in the Running Start Program was the Women Distance Festival (WDF) “Girls just want to have fun” & Estimated Timed Race, the T-shirt & medal – girlie! If this were supposed to attract men, where are the unisex results? That was not a thought. This was my first race and no one knew my race time and I won the walk race. In the web site, there where mostly pictures of women in the race and with medals, guys were there but limited pictures. My last race was the Bread 10k Run; we had probably 3 guys from the PGRC but someone from the outside would have thought this was a PGRC women’s race.

    My doctor was thinking about joining and I have two co-workers who were interested in the joining PGRC but seeing there is nothing for the guys until June 2010; they are going to serve their running needs elsewhere or continue with the treadmill.

    Is the purpose of this program to train people to run or to train women to run?

    I am thinking about running in the Army 10 Miler and I asked some members should I train with PGRC or RUN?
    If you really want men to join and stay, you need to get a man’s point of view….

    OK I’m off the soapbox

    for now…

  2. Tony, you are absolutely right about the reasons we seem to attract only women. Some points:

    – In the past Running Start programs have been about 98 percent women. There was opposition to the Women’s-only program, but (not surprisingly) there weren’t enough men to vote it out. That said, it doesn’t hurt to appeal to the majority to continue to attract new members. However…
    – We don’t want to alienate our male runners (I promise we’re working on it). For one, June is not the first co-ed program. That Is the first beginning runners program, but the April walking program and early May 10k programs are open to all. And note the 10k program will feed into a 10-miler program, with the Army 10-miler being graduation. (Will be sending a note out this week about that — registration opens April 1.) We already have some great, fast volunteer coaches for the 10k program.
    – In an effort to attract more competitive runners to our summer race series, we are instituting a points system that garners participants an award for earning a certain number of points. I also would like to create a fall or winter race series with a similar incentive (Want to help? Email me…)

    As for the Pacers thing. That has nothing to do with us other than the store kindly invited us. As I mentioned in my email to you, women have the particular trouble of finding a bra that doesn’t chafe. And surely the store saw that as a business opportunity. Please don’t shoot the messenger!

    All that said, I hope you see the obvious, Tony: We need you — and strong, passionate runners like you. I suggest you do the exact opposite of running away from our problem and help us solve it. If we ever expect to grow we need to expand our programs, make them more competitive and help draw experienced and strong runners. And more male voices at the board meetings would certainly be welcome. These meetings are open to all and your opinions count too. We need you, Tony. Don’t abandon us!

  3. Tony
    I hope that you and your male friends will not abandon the PGRC. I run with the club, this will be my second year and I have volunteered to work with the marketing team for the group this year. I too would like to find ways to get more men involved. I would love to have you and any of your men friends come run with us PRGC members during our Monday and Wednesday morning runs at National Harbor and/or the Thursday morning runs downtown on the National Mall. I am committed to making sure that PGRC not only is an inclusive group for men and women, but also all citizens throughout the county. Please don’t give up on us. If you are interested in the location and times of these runs please send me an email at patricia1771@gmail.com

  4. I have been a member of PGRC since the early 1990s and I have never felt alienated as a man in the club. I have always found the club to be a small group of friendly people who like to run. Cindy Cohen’s tenure as President ushered in a huge growth in the club membership. I have been pleased to see PGRC grow and offer so many programs especially to new runners. I have never felt unwelcome in any way as a man in the club. I have been the assistant race director for the Women’s Distance Festival for the past 5 years. With Lucy’s retirement , I am have greed to be the RD this year. The WDF is a special event that has it roots back 30 years when women were considered too frail to run long distances. That idea is absurd today, but the WDF races were initiated to honor women runners and defeat the absurd belief. The estimated time race accommodates men in a seldom used estimated time fashion to provide a unique challenge and also provide an opportunity to walkers and families who want to participate. This year the race will benefit orphans in Haiti who are still homeless as their home was damaged in the January and subsequent earth quakes.

    I agree with Kim, PGRC needs energetic and passionate members of both genders. I encourage anyone who feels alienated to attend a board meeting and see how friendly and accommodating the club leaders are.

  5. Poor Tony, getting gang-tackled when he expresses an opinion. Particularly as invited to in a different thread.

    Tony:
    I was one of those too-few men Kim referred to (not on the board any more, but former president and most other things, including the originator of the beginning running program in 2002 and its only coach until 2007, when two others joined me). I may have been the only one. This is the first year PGRC has had a program that excluded men. Most people who came out to the beginning program were women (more like 90-95% than the 98 Kim cites — still, quite high), but guys were welcome and did join.

    Kim:
    There being a 10k program at the same time doesn’t do anything for a beginning man. Tony’s friends can’t reasonably start a 10k program. If they could, they wouldn’t be beginners. Ditto walking program — if they wanted walking, they wouldn’t be beginning runners. They’re out of luck, with PGRC, until at least June. If the women-only members also roll over in to the next program, then they’re simply out of luck with PGRC.

    Patricia:
    I think more than marketing is going to be needed. As I was afraid, having a women-only program and no corresponding men-only program is sending a message to the men. You can’t just say that men are welcome when reading the club activities advertises that men are not always welcome.

    Both:
    You say you want male voices. But when mine raised concern that men would read the women-only program as Tony did do, it was ignored. I understand (from a woman who did so) that a female voice raising the concern at the meeting was also ignored. You can be certain that the 1 guy who actually writes in is not the only guy who feels something. Almost all are not club members yet, as opposed to Tony who’s already here. They’ll just keep moving rather than even raise their concerns.

    Now that it has been raised as an actual issue, rather than merely my prediction, it’s time to have a constructive response that changes something. Merely telling him (don’t tell, show) that men are welcome does nothing. Telling him to come to board meetings does nothing. Besides, with men being half the population, the board should have some clues that we exist even without us being at meetings waving reminder flags.

  6. Robert wrote: “Telling him to come to board meetings does nothing.”

    I beg to differ. As a member of many volunteer organizations, I suggest that it is incumbent upon the member to pursue changes that he or she desires. All change requires a champion to see it through. It certainly takes more passion to enact change that shrinking away because you were told, “No”, or ignored. It an all volunteer organization, the volunteers make it happen.

  7. Nick:
    Telling him to come to board meetings does nothing. It was always legal for him to go to board meetings. Repeating that does nothing.

    Given that the decision to exclude men was a decision made by an overwhelming majority — I was told — telling his one vote (at most, as he’s not on the board, he doesn’t have a vote) to come to board meetings, again, does nothing.

    What change are we talking about? Not excluding men. The majority of the club is women.

    This is not championing the start of a beginning runner’s program, which I did. Nobody objected to having such a program, just weren’t up to coaching it themselves.

    This is not championing the (short-lived, it turned out) resurrection of the club newsletter, which I did. Nobody objected to the newsletter, they just didn’t want to write more than one article, or do the assembly. I stepped up for that.

    This is not inventing a new race (Great Lengths) and directing it, which I did.

    Nor is it importing a race-type new to the club, fine-tuning it, and directing it (Handicap races), which I did a number of times.

    Now is it a matter of overhauling our web site, which the club was interested in having happen, and which was one of my first contributions to the club.

    And it’s not like stepping up to be race director for Springburst, which I did three times.

    Nor is it like doing the Great Lengths, Springburst, newsletter, web site, handicap races, beginning program coaching (solo), web site while also being secretary, vice president, and then president. Which I did.

    I’ve got more than passing familiarity with PGRC being a volunteer organization.

    In all cases, though, I was doing things that the club either wanted done, or at least had no objection to being done.

    The club has now decided that it has active opposition to men being in the spring beginner program. Championing equal opportunity for men in the club is not a matter of merely supplying some time and sweat.

  8. Seems to me the issue of a men’s running group has a lot to do with having men to be running and pace coaches, correct? Perhaps some of the men on this thread would be willing and then the club could get one organized.

  9. Robert,

    You just proved my point, look at all the good that has been done due to your blood, sweat, and tears.

    I seriously doubt that Kim and the board wants to exclude men. I suggest that we ask the board members to re-think the decision to exclude men from the spring program.

    Kim?

    Nick

  10. This is an interesting dialogue. I was actually a person who didn’t understand the necessity of a women’s only program, though I didn’t formally express my opposition. One of the reasons I was told for the program is that there are women who are uncomfortable working out with men. My initial was response was “too bad” as we are not a women-only club. Not only does it alienate new male members but it even alienates current male members and potential male coaches. However, I do think that more men in the club need to attend the board meetings and volunteer for the board positions. I’ve been attending the board meetings for the last year and I see the same few men attending the meetings. This is not to diminish the work that a number of male members have put in the club, beyond running in the programs. These are often the same men over and over.

    The bottom line is, the overwhelming voice that is heard is from the women. The only way that will change is if more guys step up and actually speak up. I will also take responsibility as I did not formally voice my opposition when I should have. One of my goals (along with the board) is to increase male membership. But I really think we need the guys to work to attract new male members.

    I also think we need to have regular club meetings (quarterly?) where we offer a forum for club members to formally speak and contribute ideas. But remember, if you make suggestions you must be willing to work to see your suggestions come to fruition. 😉 (I needed to throw that in there because as a member of a number of volunteer organizations, I see a lot of suggesters who aren’t also implementers.)

  11. All: I have sent a note to the board, specifically asking them for their opinions on the women’s-only program. But please keep speaking out — I’m monitoring the conversation and taking notes.

  12. Omni:
    Nobody has yet raised the idea of there being a men’s running group. The concern is that the club now, for the first time ever, is excluding men from a club program. And that men are seeing it as being excluded and deciding not to join.

    Nick:
    Yes, I did a lot of good work over the years.

    No, I don’t think the board wants to exclude men entirely from the club.

    But I’m not sure, any more, just how much the board _does_ want to exclude men. Clearly they _do_ want to exclude men at least some of the time. It’s now an explicit policy.

    The question, quite reasonably, that gets raised by having an explicitly exclusionary practice is — just how many other times are men not really welcome? It may not be explicitly stated, but if know you’re not welcome some of the time, you have to wonder how welcome you are the rest of the time. And I expect a number of men, given that someone has written in about it, have seen it in this way but not bothered to write in.

    I raised my concerns with a board member, and on the coaching list, 2 months ago. I’m not saying anything new now.

    Cass:

    I’m a big reason that the club is now majority women. I started the beginning runner program and was the coach or lead coach for most of the years it has existed (2002-2007). The program was always a heavy majority of women, 90-95%. Kim mentions above that it reached 98% (I assume for 2009). Given that, it’s entirely unnecessary to declare the program women only — you’ve already got that effect without saying a word or doing a single thing to bias membership towards women or against men.

    I saw that it was majority women right off. (For the record: I’m male.) Given that the club was majority men at the time, I figured more women was a good thing. Half the population being women, our figures should be more like that. As time went on and the club total membership shifted, in large part because of the influx from the beginner’s program, to a majority women, I was again not bothered. Any men who wanted to join were welcome to do so and we were doing nothing to exclude them, advertise only to women, or whatever. At least nothing I ever figured out, and I did think about the issue.

    So for those years, if a woman wanted not to be excluded, what she had to do was show up. Period. Beginner program if she felt like it, club runs, parties, show up at board meetings, take an office — any and all if she felt like it. No principle of excluding women existed.

    For the men, the talk from you and Patricia is that in order not to be excluded, men should form a voting majority on the board and vote against being excluded. That’s rather steeper a requirement than just showing up. It also says that the board was (last board voted it in) and is (given current responses) sufficiently in favor of excluding men that we have to vote the current people out and replace them with people who don’t think men should be excluded from club activities* in order for men not to be excluded by policy.

    Irrespective of that, your comment takes us back to the question of just how welcome men are in the club. When I raised the issue on the coaches’ list, I, too, was told that some women were uncomfortable workout out with men. The policy of excluding men is to cater to these women. So, then, just how much is the club going to cater to women who don’t want men around? After catering to them in the beginner program, and advertising to men that they are not welcome at times, should we men even show up at regular club runs? Those women you’re catering to, who don’t want men around, could be at regular club runs. And you’ve (the club in all cases, not you personally) advertised that their interests are more important than any principle of not excluding men from club activities. (Much less that men are actually welcome.)

    Further, how are would-be member men reading the club’s web site, and seeing that the club explicitly excludes men at times (a time particularly good for getting new members), to know that they actually are welcome even though the club is obviously catering to women who don’t want men around?

    * Way back when, I appreciated the club’s Women’s Distance Festival race. I knew the history for why it existed. It’s dated at this point, but the origin had sound reason. One thing I liked about PGRC was that it was the only club that included a race for men (or that included men) as part of the day. I was disgusted at a different club’s WDF race (I’d volunteered as course marshall) hearing the RD’s announcements and commentary before, during, and after the race be little but how awful men were. Didn’t volunteer there again and told the director why.

    Sort of digressing:
    I’m now physically a beginner again. My rehab is going ok, so it’s only beginning runner rather than beginning walker. It is an annoying irony that the club that I was, among other things, president of, will now not let me join the beginning runner’s program that I started and championed for years. It’s rather a kick in the teeth, though I’m sure that was not at all in anyone’s mind. Still, I’m unwelcome in ‘my’ program.

  13. One point of clarification, Bob, brought up by Bill to me via e-mail that I feel needs to be stated now:

    “I think there is a misunderstanding here. This year’s Running Start Program starts on June 26th and ends with the Women’s Distance Festival on August 28th and is a coed program as it has always been.

    “This year we are experimenting with three targeted entry level programs: a youth program, a walkers’ program, and woman oriented program. The women’s program is designed with the idea that some more sensitive feminine issues can be addressed that feedback from past entrants has indicated that women are reluctant to bring up in the large mixed gender group format we usually have. This Beginning Women’s Program wasn’t even intended to be called ‘Running Start’ and it would be best if we stopped doing so.”

    Also — among the board there has been discussion of a men’s-only program and whether or not a) men would want to join such a program or b) if someone would step up and coach this program. Comments?

  14. Since Kim just arrived as the new club President, I suggest that it is fair to let her address this issue before we complain that it won’t change.

    I really don’t understand why men and women cannot train together. I have never heard any of such practice in any other running club. It’s not like we are playing basketball where we are in close proximity sweating on each other.

    I suggest that PGRC allow all of the programs to be co-ed. If a group of women want to start a women’s only running club, they are certainly free to do so. However, if PGRC employs this restriction within its programs, I would have to take great pause in considering my status with the club.

  15. Actually there are other women’s-only training programs in area running clubs:

    MCRR: http://www.mcrrc.org/programs/bwrfaq.php
    Howard County: http://www.striders.net/programs/fit/
    Charm City: http://www.charmcityrun.com/ > Maryland Women’s Training Program Registration Open: Bel Air, Catonsville, Towson, Westminster.

    So it’s not a total anomaly.

    • The three clubs mentioned are among the largest running clubs in the country. I think that MCRRC is the largest. I am sure that they have numerous alternatives to the women only programs. PGRC used to be a small, friendly club. I’d hate to see the growth bring division. Having a handful of people in any program is much less effective than having a few dozen. Runners learn from each other. Running together and meeting before and afterwards provides a great opportunities for us to share knowledge. Running is a unique sport where training and educating can happen simultaneously.

      • Good point that those are much larger clubs. And it is very true that we learn from each other.

  16. I never said anything about voting the current board out. What I meant was just what I said, “step up and be heard.” The implications have been that the club’s decisions and programs were coming from a primarily female perspective and men are feeling excluded. I’m just saying to include yourself in the process and discussion. For the record, I’m not referring to anyone in particular. I know there is a core group of men who are extremely active and vocal. As I already stated, I didn’t express my concerns when I should have. But I am surprised that there has been such animated discussion about this. I think I remember one email coming from Kent (??) expressing his concern earlier on but I didn’t hear much else, which leads me to what is probably an entirely different topic, why aren’t more members speaking up?

  17. Tony — I hope you read my invitation as just that; an open invitation — we have a number of people who are beginners who come out to run on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. We have supported each other to become better runners, some of us still walk/run, some run slow (like me) and some are becoming stronger runners (like Kianna and MeLissa). It is great to have this kind of support; so I mentioned it to let you know that there is support for beginners within the PGRC; so please don’t leave. working together.

    Robert–My response to Tony to come run with us was not offered as a solution to the problem he raised; I’m not the coordinator of the up coming training program so I can not change what has been proposed, but I do agree that all the programs should be open to everyone regardless of gender, just like I agree that we should run all throughout the county not just Greenbelt/Bowie/College Park which is why I volunteer to serve on the marketing group to get the word out, and grow the club. I am all for change in all areas for the better.

  18. Kim,

    I really don’t see the need to exclude men from any program. Women only discussions could be encouraged if requested.

    I am afraid that the ability of this issue to create a division could really hurt the club.

    Nick

  19. Kim —

    My vote is that we not exclude by gender for all programs, and find races to train for that include all genders as well as.

  20. Nick, I definitely see your point, as evidenced by this thread. We generally receive no comments here and we’ve got quite a discussion going on. In the end, I really do not want anyone feeling left out. To be honest, I am treading lightly here. I do not want to offend the very people we are trying to bring into PGRC — not to mention all of our long-timers who have voiced their opinions here.

    I want everyone to know I’m listening and reading everything and waiting to hear from everyone on the board.

    As a point of interest, we have 30+ women already signed up for the program.

  21. Kim:
    The Running Start program was always coed and was always 4 months long.

    Instead there are 2 programs addressing that class of beginners, 1 is women-only. And the 4 month program has been cut to 2 months, if in fact the two are truly separate. A 2 month program is not equivalent to a 4 month program. What’s available to men has clearly been reduced.

    Further it appears that the same women who sign up for the first program can also sign up for the second. If so, you’re just running a 4 month program that is women only, but not stepping up to admit to it. I asked earlier whether a person could sign up for both 2 month programs and never did get an answer.

    (per later note) Indeed this would not be the first area women-only beginner program. It would be the first one started in the last 10-20 years. It would also be the first one started new by a club that was already majority women. Those other clubs were majority men and started the women’s-only programs as a means of improving their gender balance.

    Cass:
    You’ll never hear from everybody. That’s just a trait of any group over about 7. One thing it means is it takes work (a pain in the rear, I know!) to figure out what might be the case from the people you don’t hear from, and why you might not be hearing from them.

    Then again, if you take steps to exclude people, the very last people you will hear from are the kind you’re working on excluding. That’s just people.

    On yet another hand, I did raise the issue with a board member two months back. And again on the coaches mailing list. You may only have heard about Kent’s comment, but there was more than that one comment. And, as you’d expect from here, my comments weren’t short.

    Can’t say that Tony’s comment was very animated. But since his comment demonstrated that my concern had become a reality, I’m being animated myself.

    Patricia:
    I agree that we should be running in more than just the far north. That was a reason I started the Great Lengths race down at the Glendale splash park. Granted still pretty north, but not so far as Greenbelt. I’ve been told there’s a very good cross-country route to be run through Ft. Washington, and would like to try that when I’ve finished my rehab.

    All:
    Following Kim’s mention of 30+ women having signed up for the first program already — A reality is, we cannot cancel the women-only program or make it co-ed this year. The club decided to cater to women who didn’t want men around, and it’s too late to tell them that it’ll be coed after all (even in the minimal sense that 2-10% of the program being men makes a program coed).

    It’s probably too late to reorganize and offer a men-only program in parallel to the women-only. This would require, at minimum, halving the enrollment limit for the women’s program so as to have enough coaches for the men’s (same limit as the women’s program). Plus, as the idea for women-only program came from the coaches, it seems unlikely there’d be any takers for coaching it. As the start would be soon, it’s also unlikely the re-advertising would be able to do much. Not least because the prime audience are the men who were looking for a program recently, and saw us going women-only. But maybe others have good ideas on advertising, and maybe there are coaches who would coach men.

    A different idea I’ll put up for consideration, for next year:
    Have a men-only beginner program. No women-only beginner program, as we have never had any difficulty getting women to sign up to the coed program. But maybe guys weren’t coming out to the coed programs because they were embarrassed to be seen out of shape in front of women. I never was concerned about that (personally, or on behalf of any figurative men who might think that way). But now that our membership has shifted from heavy majority men to heavy majority women, maybe it’s worth considering. It’s self-limiting (unlike the ‘women who don’t want to work out with men’) as the men will be in shape at the end of the program. Dunno, I’m still opposed on principle to gender-exclusive programs.

  22. Bob — thanks again for the thoughtful response. I really do appreciate that you are taking the time to help us!

    I did not know RS always was 4 months long, but I do know that after last year’s programs we already had decided to cut it down to a shorter program. Four months was too long to keep everyone’s attention — including our volunteer coaches. We had a lot of dropouts and few made it to the end of the program (though those who did were quite successful). And, yes, the idea was the women’s program would give those participants confidence enough that they could graduate to a co-ed program, that being Running Start in June. Sorry that didn’t get answered earlier.

    I’m excited to hear you’re interested in running the Ft. Washington trail. That is an area of PG County we are looking to run some races in and expand our presence.

    That is an excellent point about low numbers of men in these programs — they very well could be embarrassed. And that is the same argument that was used for why women might not be attending after signing up (which I believe was the defense given to you when you first brought up your concerns). I don’t know if a men’s-only program is the answer either. After this debate I’m hesitant to do anything gender-specific. Though logically, it makes sense. Need men; hold mens-only program. Which, as you mentioned, is why the women’s programs were created in the first place by the clubs.

    One thing I already have learned from this is in the future we definitely need to do more research: We will poll club members, poll those reading the blog and Facebook page, ask friends/family/co-workers and see what we’re missing and what would be of interest. I think above all hard facts are going to be the way to go from now on when selecting programs.

    More to come later…

  23. WOW! Look what I started but I love it! Blogging works. We are starting a dialog on a declining issue which is not noticed or not being addressed effectively. It is nice to see the Group is willing to work out this issue. I don’t have the time now to read all of the responses but I will later.

    So as the author of exposing the problem  where are we now;
    1. I’m glad I’m not alone with these thoughts of the PGRC program and now it’s an eye opener.
    2. The observation of the women’s only start group could be offensive to the male PGRC member, which will decline in membership, potential male pace leader, coaches, volunteers, etc.
    3. Going to the board meetings with suggestions would only be a proposal or a consideration but it’s still strength in numbers. If its one issue – it’s an issue.
    4. Instead of having a Women’s Only Group, why don’t you just have a disguised Women’s pace group for beginners and keeping the Runner Start Program for all? This group can run in their own pace group and the men won’t feel (so) alienated. I’m not saying this is right but it’s not as obvious.
    5. After this, there probably won’t have enough interested men for an all male group, (what man would want to be in an all male group – don’t answer that).

    My purpose in joining the PGRC were for me to get my back into running, to learn what I’m doing wrong, increase my distance without injuries myself, assist if & whenever possible, and enjoy the companionship and fellowship with my peers who are looking for the same.
    While I was participating in the PGRC last year, I was talking to my circle of friends who were interested in a running program. After reading the adjacent program is an “All women run group”, they were a bit distraught. They called it the PGRC = Predominantly Girls Running Club. Well, when you add fuel to the fire you get burnt.
    Now I’m in that position, like when you tell a friend about this restaurant and its worth your time but your friend try it and was disappointed? This is how I felt.

    I’ve been on this earth long enough to know, in this position, I’m the customer. Advertisement could invite more members or put you on Angie’s List.

    You can explain now this Women’s Running Group not what it’s meant to be but it’s on the web site, where all could see and read it. No board member thought of this could be misconstrued? No board member thought of the possibility of a discriminations case? If this organization is called Prince Georges; then this should be for Princes Georges or persons wanting to run.

    I could understand some women may feel unconformable around their male counterparts. World’s Gym did not sweat less when Curves came out but World’s Gym does have an area for women. To add to your comfort, I rather for my female friends to be associated with men they know then men they don’t know. If there is an age requirement to join PGRC then we all are adults; let’s make adults decisions.

    There may be some attractions; we are human. So, humans will find that everywhere they go in life, from the church to the laundry mat. Be mature and move on. I had expressed my lack of interest (with using some tact) and still kept a friend.

    I remembered once after we ran at U of Md, a female PGRC member was sitting in her car on the phone and I was getting dark. I pulled my car next to her and advise her, I felt better if you would not sit here alone in the parking lot. She said thanks and drove off. This is most of our male’s protective nature not as a predator.

    Don’t loose the love of the men and the potential male members.

    OK I just added some more points for discussion, I’m such an instigator.

    I’m off the soap box again.

    Gotta get back to work…..but keep this going; I’ll read these interesting notes later tonight. I think a positive decision will be made soon…

    • Tony

      While I certainly appreciate that you are making your opinions known here on the blog, I take issue with your statement, “What man would want to be in an all male group-dont answer that.” Please tell me that you did not intend for that remark to be as insulting as it feels. For the past two years in the PGRC, I have felt that the club has been a very inclusive one. I would hate to think that any member would feel it necessary to be derogatory, even in jest.

  24. Kim:

    So, indeed, the second program is not independent.

    Deciding to shorten the beginner’s program to 3 or 2 months is one thing. Having done it solo at 4 months for years, I certainly appreciate that 4 is a long time for the coaches. (On the beginners’ side, I can argue either side of the 2 vs. 4. Though mostly the 4, hence coaching to it even at my own inconvenience.)

    But having 2 beginner programs of 2 months is not what is done with the arrangement that is now in place. What the club has arranged, if not calling it so, is a 4 month beginner program for women, and 2 months for those women and men who sign up in the vacancies left — if any — for the second half.

    I’ll suggest, not least since it’s been described this way at times, the club actually implement 2 beginning runner programs of 2 months. One for only beginning women (it being too late to do anything else with that program). But the other being for, only, an entirely new batch of sign ups and being coed. It will turn out to be almost all women, same as all other beginning programs have been, but not because the club excluded men. Graduates of the first beginning program are no longer beginners. They can and should run with the club as regular members on Saturdays (and the rest of club runs/events/…). As for any other club members, they can and should certainly talk to other members about running (and birds, and whatever else comes to mind).

    I was indeed told that there were women who did not want to work out in front of men, which is what Cass repeated above. That’s a global statement — don’t want to work out in front of men. It applies to beginner program, but also the Saturday runs, track workouts, National Harbor runs, and any other club work out. I don’t see that catering to that global exclusionary interest, which the club decided to do, supports any claim that the club is interested in having men come out to Saturday runs, track workouts, National Harbor runs, and so on.

    In that vein, I can’t say that I’m scoping out Ft. Washington for the club. I really don’t want to put time in to something for the benefit of the club, and then be told that a club run there will be given over to the women who don’t want men around. I can run there whether I’m a member of the club or not, and run alone whether I’m a member of the club or not. If it turns out that the club commits to including men, of course I can share what I know, as I have done (perhaps more than people wanted at times 🙂 all the years I’ve been with the club.

    But having publicly committed to an exclusionary policy (and one so flagrantly unnecessary — if 98% of the people in a program are women, you _have_ a women-only program!), publicly, the commitment that says it is only for that one program needs to be equally public.

  25. Hello all,

    I’m one of the women who joined the Beginning Women’s Group so I figured it won’t hurt to give my 2 cents. I joined the group because I want to be a runner and this was the first beginning group that I saw. I would have joined regardless of how the group was structured because I’m ready to start running. There may be other women who feel the same.

    I don’t feel that it is too late to change the group if those women who have already signed up don’t object and the coaches are willing. Since this seems to be causing some contention, maybe it would make sense to change this to a co-ed beginning women’s group and poll the women who have already registered to see if they would still continue (maybe not in that order). That way you can still welcome men but not alienate the women who did join with the expectation that it was going to be an all women’s group.

    Ashaki

  26. For clarification sake, I meant a “co-ed beginning group” and not a “co-ed beginning women’s group”.

  27. Wow, I’m really not sure what to say now. I will say thanks to Ashaki for her input. I’m assuming many of the women who signed up for the first program did so because it is starting earlier than the second one.

    I’m not sure what this discussion is doing for the club’s image, particularly since it is posted to a beginner’s program’s sign-up page. It seems to me that the programs in place for the summer are pretty much set in stone. I think we should now focus on future plans for the club. This is not to diminish the concerns that have been expressed. We can discuss this until we are blue or red in the face, but if the programs aren’t changing for now then we should move on to future decision-making.

    As for the Southern county runs, if there are others who live or work in that part of the county, please let us know of some good locations to run. I work in Suitland so meeting after work for a run in the Ft. Washington/Clinton/Oxon Hill area would work for me. Also, the half-marathon group met just below Waldorf for a run on a Saturday so there are club members that are willing to travel to try out new running locations.

    If anyone else has any ideas for the club, let me, Kim or any other members of the Exec Board know so we can bring it up in the next meeting. But if you are willing to suggest, you must be willing to help implement. 😉 Just thought I’d throw that one in there again. The next meeting will be in May, since April is a busy month for PGRC. Kim will send an email announcing the date.

    Thanks all for a lively discussion!

    ~Cass (calogan316@hotmail.com)

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