When it comes to paving the way for women’s trail running in Ireland, there is one community that is genuinely changing the game. She Summits Trail Running was founded by Alicia Chirstofi-Walshe in 2019, and ever since she has introduced countless women to the hills.   


Alicia She Summits Founder on a mountain run
Alicia on Benbaun

Alicia, an avid trail and mountain runner herself, noticed a disparity in the number of men and women that took part in the trail and mountain running races in Ireland. “So that was just a little bugbear I had. I then became aware of girls on hills in Scotland. I just saw them on social media and I said, I need to do that in Ireland.”

After some planning, Alicia took the leap and with a close-knit group of female trail running friends, Alicia started She Summits Trail Running. That founding group now are head run guides for the She Summits group runs. Ever since then, the community has grown and grown. They now have thousands of Instagram followers, a WhatsApp group with over one-hundred members and a wide variety of guided runs and navigation skills events.

The Importance of Highlighting Women in Sport

One vital thing that She Summits does is highlight the women that are taking part in and winning trail and mountain running races. “It is really important to me that women’s races are celebrated,” Alicia told us. Those that follow She Summits Trail Running on Instagram will more than likely have seen their “Weekly Race Wrap Up” posts where they highlight some of the brilliant female performances in the hills over the past week.

“The more that women see other women doing it and other women that they can relate to that maybe look like them that might be of a similar age or background, then they might think, hey, this is a place for me, this is a sport for me.”

The concept of “Can’t See, Can’t Be” is grown in acceptance since the 20×20 campaign, and what Alicia and She Summits are doing to highlight the women attending these races and really champion them, regardless of field size, is extremely important for the future of the female sport and outdoor pursuits.

Community Events

As well as the massively important philanthropic side to She Summits the organization also hosts a wide variety of events. These range from “Complete Beginner” run/walks in the Dublin Mountains to Navigation Training and so much more.

They recently announced their Seven Sisters Skyline guided run weekend. Where a group will head up to recce the course of the Seven Sisters Skyline Race in Donegal. In September this year the Seven Sisters Skyline will take place in the Glenveagh Mountains of Donegal, this weekend aims to provide the attendees with confidence on the course, a beautiful weekend in some incredible mountains and the feeling of community that is synonymous with mountains and trail running.

“I think women want to be prepared. But I don’t think the preparation always has to be super intense. It can still be effective in a light, fun way.”

Breaking Down Barriers

We were fascinated to hear what Alicia thought the biggest barrier preventing women from getting into the mountains was. She believes it is due to a lack of time. Mountain and trail running is geographically dependent, and for many people, the hills may not be very accessible. The time commitment required to commute to the hills, run around for an unsure amount of time and commute home is prohibitive for some people.

“On yesterday’s run, I said, I know how to navigate. I know where I’m going. It’s because I have the privilege of spending a lot of time out here. I’m not a magician, I’m not like extra intelligent. There isn’t a skill that you can’t achieve with the gift of time”

The guided runs that She Summits provide gives women a period of time on the mountains that they can easily pencil into a busy life and plan around. Women in the WhatsApp group will also carpool in order to make getting to the hills easier again.

Supporting Each Other

We can all do with some extra support at times. This is especially true when taking on a new sport, daunting challenge, or ambitious goal. This is the root of one of the main reasons Alicia founded She Summits back in 2019. She wanted to provide trail-running women with connections to each other like she had when she was first getting out on the hills.

“We all just need a little support and then it can happen, then you can do it”


We have teamed up with Dynafit to give you the chance of winning a pair of women’s Dynafit Ultra 100 trail shoes. We hope that the winner of this competition may go on to experiment with their first off-road runs as a result. Simply fill out the form below and answer the question. The answer is in the article below.

This competition is now closed 

Check out SheSummits.net for information about upcoming events


By Matthew McConnell

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