American women may have been gifted the right to vote nearly a hundred years ago, but it took much longer for them to earn the right to move their bodies at a pace faster than skipping. Progress, however, continues to be made with the return of the Divas 5K, a race in which women as young as 8 are -- at last -- allowed to run.
This Sunday morning, skeptics will assume that there is some kind of sale on kitchen equipment at the end of the course in Tropical Park. But that's just the kind of paleolithic thinking that the Divas 5K is here to overturn. Instead, there will be more than $11,000 in prizes of cosmetic treatments from the Pascual, MD chain of medical spas.
There are 14 different age groups for competition. (Pity the race official who dares ask a diva her age!) First place in each group will win Botox. Second gets laser hair removal. Third place gets laser teeth whitening.
The Continental Road Racing website claims that "This series is all about girl power," a term that here has less in common with feminism than with coal power, a process by which coal is tossed in a furnace to generate profit to the detriment of society as a whole.
While the youngest age group, 14 and under, is not eligible for any of the cosmetic procedures, the next age group up -- children between 15 and 19 -- are able to win the teeth whitening and laser hair removal.
"While we think the prizes are fun and all that," event organizer Robert Pozo tells us, "we don't want to pass on the sense that Botox is what 15-year-old girls should be getting." He confirms that Divas 5k is "fine with" these same girls going into clinics for teeth whitening and hair removal. In fact, the prizes "are not transferable, so these girls can't just give them to mom."
Pozo confirms that if an 18 or 19-year-old wins her age group, she will be allowed to chose the Botox prize, which is good because this is generally the age where things start to go downhill. But otherwise, in lieu of Botox, the first place finisher in the 15 to 19 group will pick between the other two prizes, deliberating over which is the more hideous feature of her developing body: the hue of her teeth or her naturally occurring body hair.
Some would argue that there is something problematic about having children even participate in an event that seems to say that injecting poison into one's face is preferable to not looking like an airbrushed magazine cover model, that this is kind of the opposite of an event promoting sisterhood and female empowerment. But to those lame-o spinsters, we say that your cats are closer to being divas than you'll ever be!
Click around on the website and you'll find the claim that "just because you're a grown-up doesn't mean you can't be a princess." Maybe it doesn't. But this isn't an event that targets only adults. Eight-year-olds -- still with baby teeth -- are encouraged to participate and even if they are not able to win the prizes, they will be running alongside women who are competing for the procedures.
Unlike other races that just pass out cups of water to the competitors, the Divas 5K has a pink boa and tiara station because on a cellular level, pink and sparkly things are what keep women alive and functioning. When divas finish the race, they don't get some crummy sense of accomplishment. They get flowers, champagne and a shiny, shiny medal. Though the Miami event is only a 5K race, at the Divas half marathons, the website says, "finishers will receive a huge, blinged out medal - definitely fit for a DIVA! Did we mention it spins and there's a spot for your photo?"
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Participants also get a pink race shirt because they are women and pink is what women like.
But as in 5K races for people, winning is not always the main objective. Sometimes, people or even women just want to improve their health or push themselves to conquer a new challenge. And for these participants, there will be a dance party at the finish line "where handsome young men from the local dance schools will sweep you off your feet." We just hope there is an on-site salon just before the home stretch so that these men don't get the impression that when women run five kilometers, they get sweaty.
The race begins at 8:30 a.m. To race, you had to register online for $65 at RunLikeADiva.com before midnight on October 30. Darn.