2019 Women’s Adventure Scholarship


We are pleased to announce the winners of the first annual Women’s Adventure Scholarship. It has been an inspiring process to hear from so many women who run counter the limiting narratives of their culture and embrace the wild as a space of play, challenge, discovery, and community. Congratulations to our winners! We look forward to hosting you on the trail this season.

Please take a moment to read each of the winning essays.

Sawtooth Backcountry: Bobbi Barbarich

Stehekin: Anna Brown

Wonderland: Janel Lanphere

9 Finalists Announced!

Over 250 women shared their insights, experiences, and motivation as runners as part of our inaugural Women’s Adventure Scholarship. It was humbling, inspiring, and deeply touching to hear from women from all across the globe about what motivates them to consistently lace up and head out the door. These finalists are now each writing their final essay, on “How moving through wild spaces is empowering to me as a woman.” Winners, and their essays, will be published on June 1st.


I love to run for connection. Connection to my mind and body. Connection to nature. Connection to others. These connections can carry you longer, faster, and further. They remind me every day that the world is out there to explore and that I shouldn’t wait for the “right time.” The right time is NOW to run, explore, share, and protect our wild spaces.

Mariana –Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Freedom and peace are the essence of the soul. By running, I escape the nothingness of everyday chaos and surround myself in the white noise of my feet hitting the trails and pavement and my soul is calmed.

Kirsti –Salt Lake City, Utah

Running is interwoven through stages of my life, 24 years of consistent running and I’m still learning, getting better and loving it. Running fuels my creative energy, dispels stress, is my time alone, is my time with friends, let’s me be competitive, adventurous and above all feel free, strong and connected to nature.

Janel –Flagstaff, Arizona


I’m never going to be the fastest or skinniest or strongest person out there, but getting into trail and ultra running has allowed me to find new confidence in myself that I thought I would only get once I looked a certain way or lost a certain amount of weight. More importantly, I love the feeling of freedom and the ability to explore awe-inducing terrain, as well as connect with other badass women in trail running. I’m lucky enough to have found some of my closest friends through this sport and it’s pretty special to find an activity you love and a supportive community that comes with it.

Meryn –Vancouver, British Columbia

Running allows me to be me, and it allows me to discover who I am as I age and change. I have run marathons, trail runs, half iron-mans, 5Ks, 10ks, and more. I have felt amazing after a run, and I have cried and crawled my way to the finish line. I don’t finish first, I often finish last, but I finish. And that is more than enough – just like me. I run because running has taught me so much about living.

Anna – Spokane, Washington

Honestly, I used to be a chubby girl who found every creative excuse available to skip out of gym class in high school. I couldn’t catch, kick, or throw a ball to save my life and running a lap around the track was even more unlikely. Nonetheless, I had always had a dream of being able to run… I love running because its the only time I really feel strong and capable. Most of the time I’m insecure about my body, yet if I need to run into the store to pick something up after a long run, I could be red faced and dripping with sweat but I feel like a beautiful badass among everyone else.

Teri –Chilliwack, British Columbia

Sawtooth Backcountry

I love running because a long run can break me down to my lowest self and at the same time allow me to rise above to my most resilient being.

Julianne – San Francisco, California

[I love to run] to experience the outdoors, and feel gratitude in moving my body through nature.

Bobbi – Nelson, British Columbia

I run to feel alive. I run to know my heart is working. I run to feel the sweat on my face and the heat of the sun on my skin. I run to release my emotions, to let tears drop down my face if that is what I need. I run because I’m someone’s daughter, mother, and wife. I run for the Choctaw and Cherokee in me. At the end of the day, I run to feel this life as completely, painfully, and joyfully as possible. Running usually always saves the day.

Jennifer – San Diego,  California

2019 Women’s Adventure Scholarship

We want to encourage more women getting into wild places, blazing their own trails, and sharing the ups, downs, twists, and turns of their journey. For too long the wilderness narrative has been about the lone, often male, explorer pitting himself against the elements, we look forward to new narratives and stories created and shared from wild women.

Each Scholarship is Valued in over $2,500 in Gear and Services

  • Free entry on one of Aspire’s All Women’s trips: Wonderland, Stehekin, or Sawtooth Backcountry
  • 2 months of personalized coaching from Dasher Performance
  • Gear from our sponsors:
    • Lilly Trotters: Sock-n-Sleeve Race Bundle
    • Pine Daisy House: Personalized, leather-bound Adventure Journal
    • Naked Sports Innovations: Running Vest and Band
    • Territory Run Co: Post run leisure hat, shirt, and hoodie
    • Rabbit Run: Trail Ready Active wear Top/Bottom
    • Oiselle: $250 Gift Certificate

All Women’s Trips

All Women’s Trips are a celebration of community and connection shared among women who love and aspire to play in the mountains. Each stunningly beautiful trip is enhanced by the uniquely awesome vibe of ladies-only adventures.


Scholarships are intended to support individual female athletes venturing into wild spaces. Our hope is that as scholarship recipients share their stories of adventure, they will contribute to an inspiring and growing narrative of female-focused wilderness exploits.

Who Should Apply

We encourage a diverse field of applicants in terms of age, race, experience, and backgrounds. Applicants need not have overcome any specific hardship or have a deeply compelling story. An extensive wilderness/running resume is not required. A desire to explore is sufficient!

By applying you are joining a network of women who are passionate about elevating the visibility of women adventure athletes. Even if you don’t think you are a “competitive” applicant, we want to hear from you. We invite ALL athletes and adventurers to signup and follow the stories of your fellow females.

Application Process

  1. Initial applications will be accepted between May 1st through May 19th.
  2. From the initial application pool, 3 finalists for each trip will be selected and invited to submit a one page essay on: How moving through wild spaces is empowering to me as a woman.
  3. These essays will be due on May 26th.
  4. Winners will be announced on June 1st.


  • One application per person.
  • Applicants must be female and 18 years of age or older.
  • Applications will be evaluated by a team of representatives from Aspire and Dasher Performance.
  • All scholarship entrants agree to receive promotional materials from Aspire and partners.
  • Entrants agree to allow anonymous application responses and essays to be made public, with the intent of sharing wisdom and inspiration with a larger audience of wilderness and trail enthusiasts.
  • Scholarship recipients agree to contribute updates, including photos, from their training and trip experiences to be shared on Aspire’s and partners social media channels.