The Interview: Alicia Christofi-Walshe from She Summits

By Fiona Donnellan
on Sep 02, 2019

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Alicia Christofi-Walsh and her She Summits Crew

Each month on Girl Outdoor Magazine we catch up with awesome people impacting our world. This month it's the turn of Alicia Christofi-Walsh of She Summits

Tell us a little about yourself and She Summits?

I'm a 41 year old mother of three kiddos (ages 11, 5 and 3). I'm originally from Boston and I've lived in Wicklow for 14 years. I was a dance artist/choreographer/teacher until 2015 when our 3rd child was born. I started running in 2008 when our oldest was a year old. We were living in NYC at the time and I saw women running while pushing their kids in buggies. I figured I'd try. I could run for bursts of about minute and I was delighted. I built up my mileage, a year later we were back living in Ireland and I ran Dublin City Marathon (my first marathon). In 2016, a year after our 3rd child was born, I ran my first ultra. 

I founded She Summits in March of this year. In January I spotted a guided trail running company for women, Girls on Hills, in Scotland. I had a lightbulb moment, I knew I needed to start this here. There are less women than men involved in trail running/racing in Ireland (especially in ultra-distance). I wanted to break down the barriers that were blocking women from getting involved and I wanted to encourage them to give trail running a try. 

I have a network of female trail running pals who were a natural fit for run leaders. Gail Nicolson, Karina Jonina, Niamh Gaffney and Sarah Brady are all super experienced on the trails.We offer weekly guided trail and mountain runs/events for beginner to advanced runners. We also offer navigation courses, trail/yoga retreats, mountain-safety and bio-diversity run-chats. 

Where did the idea to start the women only group come from?

I think women learn better and as a result flourish in all-female groups. Also, when lads are involved they often end up leading and women loose out on opportunities to gain experience and in turn to grow in confidence. 

Where are you based?

Donard, West Wicklow not far from Lugnaquilla Mountain.

How can people get involved? 

Join us on an event! Info and booking on our Eventbrite page.

What advice would you give a beginner or someone starting out?

Join us on Absolute Beginner Run; no minimum distance or pace required! If you want to build up your fitness off the trails, try a coach to 5 k plan. Invest in a pair of trailrunners plus a running vest and water system. 

Tell us a bit fo background about your hashtag #DAREUSTOTRY.

Our hashtag started with a seed planted in my own head by Niamh Fitzpatrick (Sports Psychologist I worked closely with during my Wicklow Round training). I was stepping up to try this huge challenge (Wicklow Round - 26 peak/110k approx/Self-Nav) and I was struggling with the enormity of it. 

Niamh said something along the lines of, 'What if you just try?' I think a lot of us can use this simple sentence. What if we just try and keep trying? Eventually we may end up where we hope to be. I went off track a bit there! Anyways, so the 'dare us' bit is a cheeky response to the elitist realm of adventuring and mountain running. It's so often lads taking on the challenges, it's a shout out to the world, #dareustotry and watch us fly!

Describe your perfect adventure?

A full day open mountain running with lots of climbing and navigating, and finishing up with an open-water swim!

By Fiona Donnellan
on Sep 02, 2019

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