It was the most beautiful scene. A giant group of Oiselle women standing on the starting line of the Phoenix Half Marathon. It was in the fleeting moment between the starting commands and raising the gun that I took a brief pause to breathe it all in. The women standing next to me, from around the world, right there with me. Same love, different paths to that line. Same moment of pause, different goals from start to finish. Same singlet, different stories representing those wearing it. The strength that radiated through me in that moment extends beyond the starting line of a race. It lends a hand in moments all of life’s starting lines. All moments of vulnerability. And so we asked our team, what does wearing the singlet mean to you?
REBECCA TRACHSEL (AKA TRAX), Massachusetts
"My race singlet is my armor. As I pull it over my head I am lifted to a new level both physically and mentally. When it hits my skin it calms my nerves. When the bib is pinned onto it, I'm thrust into fighting mode. And for that moment, nothing will stop me."
ASHLEY SWINK FINCHER, Texas
"My singlet is a talisman that only comes alive on race day, and then rests 'til it is time to race again. So as not to dilute its magic powers, I've made the conscious decision *not* to wear it outside of racing. The ritual of unfolding it the night before and arranging it beside all my other gear signals somewhere deep inside me that tomorrow will be no ordinary day or workout. Laying nearby in wait all night long, reminding me that after one more sleep, it will be time to come together with my team - wherever in the world they are - and do work on the course. Once it's on my body, my singlet is the beacon I use to identify myself to other Volée with whom I cross paths as someone running "with" them, regardless of the differences in our paces. But even those days where I don't run into one other team member, my singlet evokes their collective power, strength, speed and grit and makes me better for it."
ERIN TAYLOR, London
"For me, the singlet is a powerful symbol of showing up. When I put on my singlet, I'm showing up not just for myself, but for all my teammates. And all my teammates are showing up for me. Even when I'm not racing, seeing the singlet — from behind a cowbell, on race recaps and social media, and in my closet — reminds me that I'm never alone. I'm pretty sure my little running buddy can feel the power of the singlet, too."
BETH BALDWIN, Ohio
"Some days warrant the singlet outside of running. When I put on the singlet, it's like putting on a hug. I'm immediately surrounded by women who have shown determination and positivity. As the Oiselle Flight Manual recommends, you have to believe in yourself and take on the challenges and opportunities that come your way. The singlet reminds me of the power of the teammates I have been able to meet both in real life and through social media. There are so many Sister Heroes woven into the fabric that it's impossible to mention each one. From women who win fights over cancer, start their lives over, run while infusing TPN, raise children gracefully, win races, finish races, remember and reach out to teammates for every single special day, and are elite athletes checking in on each of us, it's a network of immeasurable strength and support. My coach encourages everyone to Run With Joy, This singlet helps me to do that and also to live with joy."
ALLIE BIGELOW, North Carolina
"To many people the Oiselle singlet may just look like another racing top, but when I look at it I see a garment infused with as much power a superhero’s cape. On race day the singlet reminds me to run fast and take chances, to run with joy and confidence. When I am tackling tough workouts it emboldens me to rise to the challenge, to push a little harder, to not back off. This simple garment has the power to tie me to my teammates, whether through high fives out on the race course or just as a reminder that I am capable of the same toughness and grit as the women I look up to who wear the same kit. But it is on the days when my singlet isn’t visible to anyone else that I realize its power the most. Over the course of this past year my Oiselle kit has been tucked beneath my street clothes as I have tackled licensing exams, job interviews and days in court. It is on those days when I feel the power of the singlet the most strongly. Just knowing that I am a member of this community of such brazen, bold, impassioned women leaves me feeling bolstered enough to take on challenges that I never thought possible and handle them with a level of confidence and calm that I didn’t know I possessed."
BETH GILLESPIE, Illinois
"My Oiselle singlet is an outward reminder of all of the miles I logged to get to the starting line and that I have worked to get my legs and my heart ready.... It provides inspiration when I think of the women on our team who aren’t afraid to attempt something new. I think of Kate Grace leaving her entire heart on that Olympic Track. Of Stephanie Bruce joining the small group of women who can run a 10k in under 32 minutes. And of my girl, Trax as she trains her ass off to run a sub 3 hour marathon...It reminds me that I am part of a team of fierce women who support me, cheer for me, and don’t care what my pace per mile is. This team reminds me to be kind to myself and to run happy. My singlet helps me remember to wear my courage like a cape and that its time to fly."
JANA EFFERTZ, Minnesota
“For me the singlet represents both connectivity and freedom. I am the mother of two very busy and determined young girls, a wife to my fabulous husband Joe and am a full-time attorney. It’s a lot of roles to juggle and I feel the weight of it some days. On tough days I like put on the singlet for my runs. For me the singlet also represents freedom – the kind of physical and mental freedom only running can give me. When running I don’t have to juggle any of life’s chosen roles, I just run. I only have to focus only on me, my effort. It’s a welcomed break from chaos of life. The singlet is a powersuit."