Ashley Wiles of Vancouver, B.C. was named the 2016 Brooks Inspiring Coach of the Year at a ceremony on Friday night at the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle. Watch the above video to hear her acceptance speech.
She was selected by Brooks from a field of 13 candidates to receive $10,000 in Brooks performance footwear, apparel and accessories for her team and $2,500 in cash for team expenses.
We talked to her after she received her award:
Below a passage about Wiles from Brooks:
"Running saved my life and it might save yours too" is the title of Ted Talk Ashley Wiles gave in Vancouver, B.C.
Having dealt with struggles such as self-doubt and a poor body image, Ashley felt a desire to create positive change in her community.
"The person who influenced me was a girl who committed suicide. She posted a video before she killed herself. I know what that feels like and I don't think anyone should have to deal with that. I'm a life coach, that's my background - to get from point a to point b - and what I see over and over again is how physical activity can changes lives; seeing how people show up for you and you show up for them."
Ashley used her passion for adolescent girls to create Sole Girls, which uses running as a tool to build self-confidence and a sense of empowerment in young women.
"Sole girls started in 2013. It's an empowerment program for girls between ages 8 to 12. We started with 15 girls and now it's over 600 girls. We run a nine-week program where girls train to run a 5k. We talk about values and we use running as a tool to facilitate conversations about body image and confidence. At Sole Girls by intermixing physical activity it enables a deeper learning and is less confrontational -it facilitates an open-minded conversation. We tell the girls to be that person that inspired you 5 or 10 years from now. Find your happy pace!"
Many runners have - indeed - found their happy pace and Ashley's goal to "change the number of girls who are physically inactive" and in return build self-confidence is working.