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The running and walking group's 5k, 10k and half-marathon returns Saturday, May 21 at Wilsonville's Memorial Park.

SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Wilsonville runners and walkers gather Saturday mornings at Wilsonville High School for group training.The Sole Sisters all-female walking and running group is hosting a multi-distance race for women on Saturday, May 21 in Wilsonville — the group's first large in-person event in three years.

Women of all "ages, stages, paces and seasons of life" are invited to Memorial Park at 29600 SW Park Place at 9 a.m. to walk, jog or run distances of 5 kilometers, 10 kilometers or a half-marathon, which is about 21 kilometers or 13.1 miles.

The race will not be timed, and each participant will be celebrated for their hard work regardless of their goals. Co-founder Jules Moody said this is a core principle of the group she helped launch with friends Lisa Sequeira and Ann Christler in 2008 to provide a space for camaraderie and healthy lifestyle practices among women working toward a common goal.

"It's not about speed and distance, it's about showing up and having accountability, knowing the other ladies in your town are going to be there," Moody said. "It's very encouraging and positive and inclusive."

The race will mark the culmination of a 12-week training program that kicked off Saturday, Feb. 26, meeting weekly at 7:50 a.m. at Wilsonville High School to run distances of increasing lengths with accompanying workshops on aspects like hydration and proper footwork.

Program participants can also apply to join the unit of volunteer coaches who provide pointers and encouragement at each training session.PMG FILE PHOTO - Wilsonville resident Jules Moody helped start the Sole Sisters women's running and walking group.

Since the inaugural group workout of 12 participants nearly a decade-and-a-half ago, Sole Sisters now has groups across 12 cities in the Portland metropolitan area attracting over 1,000 current and former members of all abilities.

"We just meet people where they're at," Moody said. "If they're slow, first-time walkers, there's someone that goes slow with them; if they're super fast runners, we've got people that are there that run fast with them. So it's kind of for anybody."

Moody said COVID-19 has disrupted regular training sessions since 2020, with the lone training meetup during that time held between a smaller group of participants in 2021. She said while the group is still growing back from pandemic impacts, they project a great turnout at the end-of-season race in May.

Preceding the race will be an all-cities walk and run session at Wilsonville High School on Thursday, April 28 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., open for free to current and new participants from across the Portland metropolitan area. Moody said that participants will train at distances of 2.5 miles or 5 miles, and the event will include food and sneaker demonstrations from shoe brand representatives.

The cost to participate in any of the three distances at the May 21 race is $84, and all participants will receive a Sole Sisters "swag" bag and finisher's medal, as well as a meal. For those unable to attend in person, virtual participation is available for $54.

To register for the Sole Sisters half-marathon, 10k and 5k click here. Registration ends May 21, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. pacific time.

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