Women ask us all of the time, “How did Fellow Flowers begin? Where did you get the idea?” And the answer is really quite simple. We lived it.
It started with fourteen women who trained for, and ran, a half marathon together in May of 2011. Our common thread was Tori, who had asked us to run this race for her birthday. (The things we do for friends, right?) She introduced us via email.
It went a little like this: Wife, meet mother. Teacher, meet doctor. Nurse, meet businesswoman. Working mom, meet working mom. First-timer, meet veteran runner. 7-minute mile meet 13-minute mile. This group of women turned out to be a beautiful collection of experiences, backgrounds, and stories coming together for one training journey.
Throughout the next several weeks, something happened. We began to share emails with one another, reflecting on our training, but more so, our personal lives. Without even realizing it, we began sharing the why behind our miles and how our training was changing us.
Over 12 weeks we covered topics including infertility, the loss of a child, abuse and abandonment, the pursuit of happiness, and the realization of potential. We admitted fears—big fears—and expressed dreams— epic dreams. The commonalities we saw within our group united us quickly, and fiercely. We grew to trust each other. And we trained. Amidst juggling kids, families, coaching, jobs, dreams, sleep, making dinner, and drinking wine, we trained.
When race day arrived, it was no longer simply about knocking off miles and crossing a finish line—it was about celebrating our journey, and our sisterhood.
The now-infamous flowers that we wear in our hair are perhaps the most beautiful and serendipitous part of this story. They were given to us at the last minute. A friend of Tori’s knew about our training, and just a couple of days before the race she gave us 14 orange Gerber daisies, lovingly hot-glued to barrettes and clips, and said, “Wear these. You’ll be able to find each other on the course, and people will know you go together.”
It could have ended there, but it didn’t. As we all continued to train, run and race throughout the summer, we kept wearing our orange flowers. Even though we were now out there running by ourselves, the orange flower connected us back to our sisterhood.
We realized that running with a flower means you’re never running alone.
Later that fall, Mel was running a half marathon to celebrate her birthday. (Her flower was with her, of course.) Life had been steadily nudging Mel. She was looking for a new direction professionally yet had never considered the intersection between her two passions: writing and running. A few moments before the race started, a question stirred within her: How has this flower changed the way you run? And could it change the lives of other women runners too?
For the next two hours, she mentally mapped out a business plan in her head, and crossed the finish line with a razor-sharp clarity of purpose.
Later that night she texted Tori: “I have an idea. Imagine if we could create a way for other women to take this journey. Friendship + Running = Transformation. Are you in?”
Tori was. And here we are, nearly five years later sharing the journey of the flower with you. Today over 30,000 women from around the world are part of this fierce sisterhood of women who run, move, and live active lives.
We still believe that the MAGIC of running is not just in the miles, but in the moments of transformation along the way. We also believe that every woman—whether she’s running her first 5K or if has been a runner for years—has a story. And we are on a mission to create the space where those stories can be shared.
Today, we are the virtual sisterhood for women who move, run, and live active lifestyles.
We’ve learned that we love supporting women who are setting goals, taking on life’s challenges and seeing what they are truly capable of. We love sweaty smiles, glorious attempts, gritty lessons, and fierce connections. We lead this movement by sharing our own stories and staying real, honest, and truthful about the challenges and journey.
We want to support, inspire and bring together women who are on a training, fitness, health, or running journey. And we seek to connect active women who want more than just training plans, mileage updates and race reports. While running is our core, we continue to take on new challenges, goals AND sports. We believe that Fellow Flowers can support all women on a journey, regardless of sport. And we want to create a community where women are empowered and encouraged to share their stories, reasons for getting out there and motivations for staying active and healthy.