Traditions. They not only remind us who we are, but where we've come from. In the sport world, male traditions and historical moments abound. Whether it's breaking the 4 minute mile, celebrating the old silver hares of the Boston Marathon (pun intended), or the legacy of Steve Prefontaine, men frequently own the narrative as far as athletic tradition. And even today, new traditions are being set, like the #Breaking2 event, that had no female counterpart.


Celebrating female firsts, women's leadership and sports, and women led traditions is something we want to see more of in the world. So last year, we started giving out The Linda Prefontaine High Flyer Award. Linda, sister to Steve and a friend of mine who I met when we were both starting our businesses, came to our first event in Eugene, and we had the honor of handing out her necklaces as the awards to four recipients, each leading in the sport of running in different ways:

  1. BETH SULLIVANHead coach at U of Tennessee for Women’s Track & Field and Cross Country. A true pioneer.
  2. LAURYN WILLIAMSA two-time Olympian who now advocates for Clean Sport and helps athletes manage their financial futures.
  3. TAYLOR DUTCHA woman among bros at FloTrack reporting on our sport with finesse.
  4. ALLIE BIGELOWVolée member who inspires and pours her heart into the sport she loves.

Now it's time to identify and award our 2017 recipients! To select those four women, we want your help. Here is a nomination page. On it, we'd love to hear who you think deserves recognition, and a place in our High Flyer tradition. The deadline for nominations is Friday, June 23rd. Once that phase is complete, we will select the four recipients based on the following loose criteria:

  1. Engaged in the running community - either as coach, leader, teacher, organizer, etc.
  2. Media reach - including writing, communicating, covering the sport of running and the women within it.
  3. Local leader, galvanizing activity or support in their community.
  4. Industry leadership, doing something meaningful to build the sport, help athletes, fight doping, empower women, etc.
  5. Note at least one award will be given to a Oiselle Volée member. We have so many strong women who lead our community. 


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Allyson Ely