Running has always been my place of freedom
A 3x Ironman finisher, Ashley Wiles’ struggles with mental health and body image over the years inspired her to launch Sole Girls, an innovative empowerment program that shares, with girls aged 5 to 12, the tools they need for a confident, happy and healthy life.
And she joins me on Sparta Chicks Radio this week.
In this conversation, we dive into Ashley’s story including:
*the ‘kilometre club’ at her elementary / primary school that laid the foundation for her love of being running,
* how she manages her mental state if she can’t run due to injury,
* how she discovered triathlons (and more recently, boxing and parkour), and
* why she says running saved her life.
Plus we dive into broader issues, including:
* the importance of role models,
* the astounding statistics about the impact that a lack of role models has on the number of girls who drop out of sport,
* the role of sports as “playtime” for kids and adults alike,
* the way parents and caregivers can inadvertently amplify the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what we can (or can’t) do and how these stories ultimately form the identities we cling to later in life,
* why running (and the body awareness it creates) is fantastic for dealing with anxiety or an overactive brain (how do you get out of your head?),
* the common mental limits and barriers she sees in the people she works with (and why none of us is unique in our fears, doubts and limits),
* where the idea to establish Sole Girls, and
* why her focus is now on finding her ‘happy pace’.
While we discuss much of Ashley’s story, the overarching theme of this important discussion is around body image, confidence, the importance of role models and sport as a tool that can shape girl’s confidence, mental health and overall happiness.
Notes and resources:
To find out more about Ashley or to say hello, you can find her on Instagram.
Ashley’s TedxKids talk: Running Saved My Life and It Might Save Yours Too
Sparta Chicks Radio episodes mentioned: