Black Girls RUN! and REI Outessa Summit Team Up to Inspire Women to Run and Enjoy the Outdoors

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Founder of national running group to speak at inaugural outdoor event series 

Two organizations that inspire women to be more active are teaming up this summer. Toni Carey, the co-founder of Black Girls RUN!, a grassroots organization that encourages African-American women to live a healthy lifestyle through running, will speak at the REI Outessa Summit, a new outdoor weekend getaway created for women. Carey is slated to speak to the attendees at the first two Summits that will be held at Kirkwood Resort near Lake Tahoe, California, from August 19 to 21, and Powder Mountain near Salt Lake City, Utah, from September 9 to 11.

Launched in 2009, Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks-Rocha created Black Girls RUN! to combat the obesity epidemic among women in the African-American community and dispel the myth that black women do not run. The organization has grown to include more than 70 running groups across the nation with over 120,000 members. The groups include beginner and experienced runners and provide a support system to help members reach their fitness goals.

“Black Girls RUN! is so excited to be a part of this weekend getaway,” comments Carey. “It is important for women to take time for themselves and be active. The REI Outessa Summit will provide an opportunity for women to gather around other power women. It will be an inspiring weekend you do not want to miss.”

In its inaugural year, REI Outessa Summit is an immersive event that offers outdoor adventures led by inspiring female guides and athletes, access to coveted gear and products, great food and wine, and a variety of lodging choices all set in gorgeous surroundings. The three-day experience has been curated to create unparalleled memories in the outdoors for individuals seeking adventure or friends looking for a different kind of escape. Day passes are available for both events.

“The idea for Outessa came to me as I saw many women apprehensive to try new activities in the outdoors. I also want to serve as a role model to my two young daughters and show them not to be afraid to explore the outdoors and to try new things,” said Julia Stamps Mallon, the co-founder of the REI Outessa Summit. “Toni represents these same values and we are honored to have her take part in our events. Black Girls RUN! and Outessa both strive to break down the barriers for women and inspire them to lead healthy active lives.” 

REI, the national specialty outdoor retailer and consumer co-op, is the title and presenting sponsor. The co-op has been a national partner to Black Girls RUN! since 2012. Each year REI hosts in-store educational sessions across the country and participates in the nonprofit’s annual conference.

“Outessa participants will be truly inspired by Toni’s story and the successes that she and Ashley have achieved along with Black Girls RUN! community,” said Sally Johnson, REI Outdoor Programs manager of events. “The caliber of presenters, sponsored athletes and brands featured during the weekend is remarkable. Guests will travel home with a sense of accomplishment, new or improved skills and lots of motivation.”

Online registration for the events is now open, although there are a limited number of spots available to maximize the quality of experience for each attendee. The weekends are designed to be flexible. Each attendee can customize her schedule, choosing from more than 200 classes and experiences including camping, backpacking, kayaking, outdoor cooking, mountain biking, paddle boarding, rock climbing, yoga, hiking, trail running and more.

Additional leading brands sponsoring the series include prAna, Osprey, Cannondale, BIC SUP, Petzl, Big Agnes, Trigger Point, ENO, ORU Kayak, Salomon, nuun, Taylor Maid Farms, Goal Zero, Amy’s Kitchen, GCI Outdoors, SmartyPants Vitamins, Lagunitas, ProBar, Clif Bar, Picky Bar, Honey Stinger, Hint, Dirty Gourmet, World Peas, Tandem, Rinse, GoMacro, Stance, Native, ElliptiGO, Igloo, Tom Tom, West Side Wines, Adventure Medical Kits and Dandies. 

In addition to speakers like Carey, the REI Outessa Summit will feature many professional athletes and brand ambassadors who will lead weekend activities as guides. They include: prAna-sponsored Olivia Hsu, yoga/rock climbing; Quinn Brett, yoga/rock climbing; Heidi Wirtz, rock climbing; Stevie Kremer, trail running/rock climbing; Magdalena Boulet, trail running; Anna Levesque, kayaking/SUP/yoga; Kathryn Bertine, cycling; Roberto Gutierrez, kayaking; Sage Rountree, running/yoga; Jenny Smith, mountain biking; and Chris Burkard, photography.

More than 20 of REI Outdoor School’s best female instructors will lead and partner with brands to host programming each weekend, including hiking, trail photography, trail running, mountain biking, SUP, kayaking, backpacking, climbing, yoga and much more. 

To learn more about Outessa and register, visit outessa.com, follow on Instagram and Twitter, and like on Facebook. Click here for a press kit and high-resolution photos. To learn more about Black Girls RUN!, visit www.BlackGirlsRUN.com.

About Black Girls RUN!

Black Girls RUN! is a national running group launched in 2009 by Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks. The organization has grown to include more than 70 running groups across the nation with more than 120,000 members. The group was created to combat the obesity epidemic among women in the African- American community and dispel the myth that black women do not run. The groups include beginner and experienced runners and provides a support system to help members reach their fitness goals. Black Girls RUN! provides a community and inspires all women to run. For more information about Black Girls RUN!, visit www.BlackGirlsRUN.com.

About the REI Outessa Summit 

The REI Outessa Summit Events are custom-tailored outdoor weekend getaways for women offering immersive outdoor experiences, hands-on product trials, and education from professional athletes and expert guides. The first two events will be held at Kirkwood Resort near Lake Tahoe, CA from August 19 to 21, and Powder Mountain near Salt Lake City, Utah from September 9 to 11. The event series was created in collaboration with REI. Additional sponsors include: prAna, Osprey, Cannondale, BIC SUP, Petzl, Big Agnes, Trigger Point, ENO, ORU Kayak, Salomon, nuun, Taylor Maid Farms, Goal Zero, Amy’s Kitchen, GCI Outdoors, SmartyPants Vitamins, Lagunitas, ProBar, Clif Bar, Picky Bar, Honey Stinger, Hint, Dirty Gourmet, World Peas, Tandem, Rinse, GoMacro, Stance, Native, ElliptiGO, Igloo, Dandies, TomTom, Leatherman, West Side Wines and Adventure Medical Kits. To learn more about the REI Outessa Summit, visit outessa.com. For the latest news, sign up for email updates, follow on Instagram and Twitter, and like on Facebook.

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