For most short road races in Charlotte the routine is the same.
Get up early on a Saturday, toss on your running gear and head to a 5k course where you do essentially the run you’d have done anyway, maybe collect a medal and a t-shirt and spend the rest of the day eating and drinking eight times as many calories as you just burned running the race.
The Stiletto Sprint is a different sort of animal.
This year’s sprint will be the 6th annual running of the race, which features both men and women competing in heats of a timed 70-yard dash wearing high heeled shoes. Sounds super hard right?
To prevent participants from getting too creative with their footwear, there are very specific rules about what constitutes a heel. Heels must be at least 2.5 inches high (!) with a tapered heel, which eliminates wedge shoes.
In case your ankles are your livelihood, you can also participate in non-competitive heats where any shoe type is allowed.
I checked, and rollerblades and Wheelies are not explicitly banned, so keep that in mind if you’re looking for a competitive edge.
This is a great race not only because of how unique it is and the atmosphere of joyful ridiculousness it enables, but also because it’s all to support a very important cause.
The race began as a fundraiser for ovarian cancer research at the Carolinas HealthCare System’s Levine Cancer Institute and to date has raised over $500k to support this research. All of the net proceeds from the event support research conducted by Levine Cancer Institute’s physicians to advance the treatment and early diagnosis of ovarian cancer, a disease with which over over 21,000 women will be diagnosed this year, often at an advanced stage.
Funds also support patient education and community outreach programs.
So slap on your best (worst?) heels, tape up your ankles, and prepare to take down the competition in Charlotte’s most unique road race this weekend. Day-of registration begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday and costs $35. All registrants will receive a t-shirt and goodie bag that includes a $25 Belk gift card.
Who: Anyone who supports raising awareness for ovarian cancer and/or thinks they are fast in high heels
What: A 70-yard dash in high heels of at least 2.5 inches
When: Saturday, September 17. Registration begins at 8 a.m., sprint heats begin at 9 a.m.
Where: SouthPark mall (Parking lot area near Symphony Park and Reid’s Fine Foods)
Why: Because 21,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year, 70% of them at an advanced stage due to vague symptoms.
More information can be found here.
All images courtesy of the Carolinas HealthCare Foundation website