Fitness festival for women happens this weekend in Carmel Valley


GOTRIbal, an organization that empowers and connects women through endurance sports, is hosting a fitness festival at Ocean Air Community Park this weekend. On July 17, from 8 a.m. to noon, “GOTRIbal In the Park” will feature a 2K fun run/walk, a mother-daughter cycle and run race, an hour-long yoga session, and a bootcamp class. The event costs $35 for individuals, $45 for a team of two. A big raffle will give away prizes and there will be nutritious refreshments offered.

GOTRIbal, started in San Diego by local resident Tanya Maslach, has become an international online community for women who participate in sports such as triathlon, running and biking.

Maslach, who also runs the local leadership development firm Elevati Inc., has been active her entire life. Growing up in Southern California, she surfed, played volleyball and tennis, and swam competitively — she went on to swim at Oregon State.

Around 10 years ago, she was living in Hawaii and swimming on a masters team when she found herself sharing the lane with several women triathletes. The women were inspirational and really wanted Maslach to give triathlons a try.

“These women were uber-athletes, high achievers in the sport, and they were so encouraging,” Maslach said. “I started to think if they believed I could do it, maybe I could do it.”

Even though she hated running at first, she went for it. Her husband joked with her in the beginning that she could barely run a mile — these days she is doing 70-mile endurance running races.

Because Maslach had been so motivated by those women, she wanted to do the same for others. When she tried to find a network for women endurance athletes she wasn’t able to — which was surprising given that in the last five years women have begun to take over the sport. It used to be less than 15 percent of triathlon participants were women. Now almost 50 percent are women.

Additionally, more than half of the entrants in half marathons are women.

“I thought, ‘What the heck? Where’s the place for women? Where’s the place to go when they want to connect and get information specific to women?’” Maslach said. “So I set out to just build it.”

With the

site, women in states and cities form “tribes,” swapping training tips and dishing up encouragement. In the last two years, 36 tribes have formed — from Seattle to North Dakota to New York. There are even international tribes in South Korea, Singapore, France, Belgium and Dubai.

While it is a big online place, it also has become active “offline,” with women getting together to go on training runs or swims. She heard a story of one woman who had a business trip in Paris and looked up a GOTRIbal member for a run, which turned into a dinner and a new friendship.

She loves hearing the stories about women getting healthy, losing weight, gaining confidence and being an inspiration to others. One mom told Maslach she was tickled when her 15-year-old son — who never left the couch — asked to go on a run with her after seeing how active she’d become.

“That’s so much bigger than sport,” Maslach said. “That’s huge.”

Maslach said there shouldn’t be any excuse to not give triathlons a try. Her answer to anyone saying they can’t swim, bike or run is: “So what? You’re the only thing holding yourself back.”

As an example, she points to a GOTRIbal member who had never swam before joining GOTRIbal. That member finished her first sprint triathlon in October 2008 and by May 2009 completed the Ironman distance — which includes a 2.4-mile swim.

“Woman have so much power,” Maslach said. “When alone it can be harder, but when bonded together we can be very powerful.”

To register or learn more about the event, visit