For Elisha Villanueva and Anna Snyder, two entrepreneurs and fitness fanatics in California, love truly knows no bounds. The two are co-founders of Flex it Pink (FIP), a community dedicated to empowering women through motivational fitness gear, healthy eating, and exercise. They are also helping to make the world a better place, one virtual marathon at a time.
Virtual marathons are a hot new way to raise funds and work out. Instead of gathering hundreds of walkers or runners at the same location at the same time, virtual marathons allow participants to log miles anywhere over the course of several days. FIP currently sponsors 5K and 10K races and they encourage people all over the world to join them as they run, walk, bike, and hike their way to the finish line.
As entrepreneurs, Elisha and Anna understand the importance of supporting other small organizations, which is why they partner with grassroots nonprofits for their virtual marathons. A Google search led the two to Beyond Boobs!
“I searched online and the name Beyond Boobs! popped out at me from the search results,” said Elisha. “The co-founders, Mary Beth Gibson and René Bowditch, were two women helping other women, and we really connected with that. The group caught our eye and our hearts.”
Elisha and Anna had run a virtual marathon before, but in October 2013 they organized their very first fundraising virtual marathon to benefit BB! They weren’t sure how many people would turn out to support the event, so they created 10 medals to award to participants. They were surprised and pleased when 80 people took part in the event and raised money for the work BB! does to provide support to young women diagnosed with breast cancer.
If the 80 participants in 2013 knocked Elisha’s and Anna’s sweat socks off, the 750 people who took part in the 2014 virtual marathon to support BB! was an even better surprise. In 2015 the race roster swelled to 1,500 participants.
“Breast cancer touches the lives of so many people,” said Anna. “Lots of survivors take part in the virtual marathons, and others run in honor of someone they know who passed away from breast cancer.”
The two will be organizing another virtual marathon to support BB! this October and they invite everyone to register. “Exercise does wonders for everyone at any age and stage of life,” said Anna.
“We love boobs and every fall we love running for the boobies,” added Anna. “The women of Beyond Boobs! are amazing. They are so super sweet and supportive.”
Every year Elisha and Anna receive a handwritten letter from the group thanking them for raising money to help support the BB! mission. “We really appreciate the personal touches,” Elisha said. “Even though we have never met the women of Beyond Boobs! in person, we still feel like we are all friends.”
For more information about Flex it Pink, visit their website at www.flexitpink.com. To keep up to date on upcoming virtual marathons or to register to participate in a virtual event, follow Elisha and Anna on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.