You probably heard about the big kerfuffle that SELF magazine found itself in this week.  In a piece in the April issue, the magazine asked whether running in tutus was “legit” or “lame.”  They accompanied the blurb – which harshly declared that tutus were ‘lame’ and “if you told us they made people run away from you faster, maybe we would believe it” – with this picture.


(Images from Glam Runner)


If you look carefully, you’ll see that Tara, the runner on the left, is wearing a bib that reads, “Die, Tumor, Die!”  That’s because the runner on the right – Monika Allen – was in the process of going through chemotherapy to treat brain cancer.  The photo was taken during the 2013 LA Marathon (dude – running a marathon with cancer?! Monika, you’re amazing!).


Poor form on SELF’s behalf, right?  Definitely.  But it gets worse…


Monika and Tara actually own a company called Glam Runner, which sells tutus.  Proceeds from tutu sales go to Girls on the Run of San Diego.  Both Monika and Tara are on the chapter’s board of directors and have volunteered as coaches for a long time. You guys know how much I love GOTR (I coached for a little over two years – the Husband coached, too).  It’s a fabulous organization that does SO MUCH for the little girls that participate and the women that volunteer. 

Over the past three years, Glam Runner has raised about $5,600 for GOTR by making about 2,000 tutus.  That’s a lot of wonderful, fluffy, joyful tutus that fueled running dreams for countless little girls.  What an amazing idea!


For what it’s worth, SELF issued an apology for their insensitive remarks.  I thought the apology was appropriate – although it doesn’t take away the sting of the article.  But there’s a bright side to this media poopstorm… more and more people are finding out about Glam Runner and Girls on the Run!


I went over to Glam Runner’s website this morning to order a tutu.  I’ve never raced in a tutu but I figured now would be a good time to start!  I was not surprised to see that they’ve had to temporarily stop taking orders – they’re overwhelmed by the support.  Once they reopen orders, you can bet that I’ll be buying one.  In the meantime, you can LIKE the Glam Runner Facebook page to show your support.  Alternatively, you can donate to the GOTR San Diego chapter in Glam Runner’s name or donate to your local GOTR chapter.


If you’re interested in some GOTR-themed posts:


Idea for Making the Practice 5K Fun – Another Idea

End of Season Gift Ideas

What GOTR Gave to Me

Interview –> “I Was In The First-Ever GOTR!”

One of my many End of Season GOTR 5K Race Recap

Have you raced in a tutu?  Do you think it helped you run a bit faster to be dressed up in something so fanciful and free?   I love it when people run joyfully, so I’m firmly in the TUTUS ARE LEGIT camp!



  • Runner Girl Eats March 28, 2014, 8:54 am

    I love seeing tutus in races but have never ran in one…maybe I will for my next race though! I think anything that makes someone feel happy is a good thing and Self should’ve been upfront about their request to use her photo so she knew what she was agreeing to.

  • Kristin March 28, 2014, 9:22 am

    Thank you for posting this today! My sister’s friend, Allison, is friends with Monika and often runs in tu-tu’s and leads, “Girls on the Run” groups. I couldn’t believe it when I heard this story. I used to subscribe to Self in college. It was a great magazine. But when I hear this story it just makes me so mad. According to an article I read on The Huffington Post this morning, Self contacted Monika to get permission to publish her race picture. She was excited and gave them permission only to find out that they did it to make fun of her! When did that become ok? Shame on you Self magazine!

    • Caitlin March 28, 2014, 9:38 am

      Yeah that’s the worst part! Ive had something similar happen to me :-/ But I bet it’s for the best overall for GLAM RUNNER!

      • Kristin March 28, 2014, 10:21 am

        Yes, I envision a ton of tutus being worn during this year’s races. What a sight that will be!

    • Shannon March 28, 2014, 1:43 pm

      Yes, that’s the worst kick-in-the-ass part. “Please send us your pictures” which they then used to bully otherwise happy and fun loving women. Nice publication you have there, SELF. Not.

      • Lisa March 30, 2014, 9:07 pm

        First of all, I am sorry she has cancer and good for her for not letting it overcome her life. However, a magazine publishing a blurb about how tutus are lame IS NOT bullying. Bulling is repeated attack or humiliation on one individual. The magazine did not attack her personally (despite using her photo) and did not attack her repeatedly. I’m sorry for the rant, but as a teacher I am beyond sick of everyone crying “BULLY!!” For things that are not even close to falling under the definition of a bully.

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed March 28, 2014, 9:24 am

    I’ve never raced in a tutu before but I think people should be able to run in whatever makes them happy 🙂

  • Katie March 28, 2014, 9:34 am

    Yay!!! I was hoping that she had some sort of donation service set up, glad to see there’s a bright side!

  • Kerri March 28, 2014, 9:34 am

    i was so disappointed in Self. why should they care how someone wants to run a marathon? their approach to her about the photo was totally misleading. “hey, we’d like to use your photo, but little do you know we are going to chastise you for it!”

    such a great organization and cause 🙂

  • Sara @ LovingOnTheRun March 28, 2014, 9:35 am

    I saw this crazy story! How awful. These women are so strong and amazing! They sure will get my support once they open back us as well. What an amazing two women, company and message!

  • Sean March 28, 2014, 10:16 am

    You should have posted the back of her outfit. Monika is awesome.

  • clare @ fitting it all in March 28, 2014, 10:23 am

    what an AWESOME bright side!!!
    though definitely an unfortunate situation, and mistake by self!

  • Emily @ The Swallow Flies March 28, 2014, 10:26 am

    I have not yet raced in a tutu, but rest assured I’m going to start! I’m going to buy a tutu as soon as they reopen orders as well — these girls are awesome. 🙂

  • Emily March 28, 2014, 10:29 am

    I wouldn’t personally run in a tutu, but it’s cool that other people do. I mean, have you ever seen the Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco? It’s basically a costume party on a race course. I have seen people run in things that I did not think one would be physically capable of running in, like balloons. Or a giant foam Pac-man suit.

    But at least no publicity is bad publicity! Even though the article stings, it sounds like the media is doing great things for Glam Runner. And I’ve always been interested in Girls on the Run, but have never gotten myself involved. Maybe this is the time!

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More March 28, 2014, 10:34 am

    I’m so glad this made headlines! This is a HUGE freaking mistake by SELF. Even if these ladies weren’t running to fight cancer or supporting GOTR with their company, it’s just NOT an OK comment to make. I’m not sure anyone has ever claimed the tutus make them run FASTER, because honestly, isn’t the “trend” all about the FUN factor anyway?

  • Elizabeth {Positively Healthy} March 28, 2014, 10:42 am

    This whole story blew my mind and I will be buying a tutu as well once they open up the production again. I love when I see people excited to run a race and just seeing them puts me in a good mood!

  • Sarahf March 28, 2014, 10:56 am

    I love seeing people who’ve made an effort to wear some kind of costume for a race, spotting them is so much fun. Why is a tutu lame in the first place? At least it’s had a positive outcome for the charity, and I felt that Self’s apology was a genuine one, that skipped the “sorry if you were offended” stuff that seems to be the norm these days. Maybe it will make Self, and other magazines, think twice before printing snarky articles.

  • Heathers Looking Glass March 28, 2014, 11:00 am

    I have run many Disney races in a tutu, and was even on the front page of the Orlando sentinel and interviewed about my tutus and costumes. So not every publication thinks they are lame which is refreshing. Running in a tutu isn’t for everyone and that’s fine, but they really are super fun!

  • Kelly March 28, 2014, 11:24 am

    As someone who is so deeply involved in making women/people feel beautiful, important, loved, wanted – not to mention your involvement with GOTR – I would have expected a far different blog post from you. I’m shocked that you find the apology “appropriate”. What happened in this story and the apology seems to go against everything Operation Beautiful / GOTR / HTP stands for. The issue isn’t about making fun of someone with cancer. It’s about making fun of people – especially women – PERIOD. And you mention the “sting” of the article. I’m sorry – I love you, Caitlin, but that reaction doesn’t seem like someone who is working so hard to make women feel beautiful and accepted. There is no “sting” in making fun of people, intentionally setting out to ask her for a photo just so they could make fun and be mean. Maybe it’s a “sting” to a random passerby, but it just shouldn’t be a sting to someone who is actively fighting the fight from the other side of the fence…you! I understand you may not have wanted to get involved too greatly or to take a stance, but I see that as your job as founder of something as big and as influential as OB. Just MY opinion, but I thought you should realize how you may have come across to me…and maybe a few other faithful readers and supporters.

    • Caitlin March 28, 2014, 1:55 pm

      I wanted to focus more on the positive of what Monika has done than writing a negative piece attacking Self. I think what Self did was very wrong, but I think it’s obvious that’s the case and it’s been well hashed out by numerous sites already. Yeah – women’s magazines often suck, and I’m not surprised they’d be so snarky and mean. But I’d rather spend my energy writing something positive about glam runner and GOTR 🙂 Most of the articles I read did not have direct links to GM or GOTR or a link to GM’s social media, so when I was thinking about this post, I wanted to just focus on giving GM the positive publicity that they deserved in the first place (and should’ve gotten in Self!).

      I totally understand the sentiment behind your comment, but that was my thought process behind the post. Hope this explanation lets you know what I was thinking. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for reading!

      • Kelly March 28, 2014, 4:08 pm

        Thanks for taking the time to reply. I do respect that you didn’t post something attacking SELF – that would have defeated the purpose. I think it was just the words “appropriate” and “sting” in reference to the apology that threw me a little, coming from you. What SELF did seemed so anti-OB that those words seemed a bit subdued. 🙂 I’m glad that there is the bright glow of positivity coming from this mean-girl mentality, and that Monika’s cause is getting the well-deserved attention it should.

        • Caitlin March 28, 2014, 4:52 pm

          Writing so funny. When I wrote the word “appropriate,” it was kind of dripping in sarcasm in my mind. Their apology left a lot to be desired.

  • Angie March 28, 2014, 12:15 pm

    I coach GOTR and our girls always run the 5K in tutus (we now have a supply of tutus that passes from year to year with the different GOTR teams). I bought myself a “tough girl tutu” before the fall race and got tons of great comments about it (it was super-fun to wear!). I wish I’d known about glam runner then, I would definitely have gotten one from them.

    I have been disgusted by Self magazine for a while because of their overemphasis on being thin instead of being fit. But this was really beyond the pale…

  • Emily March 28, 2014, 12:55 pm

    I have not personally raced in a tutu. I totally would though! 🙂 I will check out the site.

    I do have a 9 year old daughter who is currently in her second season of GOTR. What an amazing organization! I ran her first 5K with her and will run with her again the spring, along with my 58 year old mom/my daughter’s grandma. 🙂 At the 5K, I was overwhelmed and moved to tears at the support, love, and kindness shown to those girls. How awesome that they not only believed they could finish something so awesome, but they DID IT!!! Thanks for your support of GOTR, too!!

  • Erin March 28, 2014, 1:25 pm

    It bugs me that a publication that claims to promote ones best self would judge anyone. Even if the runner didn’t have cancer, even if the tutus were just for fun and bought at the local store, even if these women weren’t great volunteers and donors (of course I’m glad that they are now donations and orders are going through the roof) but it doesn’t matter. Why would anyone take the time to make a judgement like that? How is that good for anyone’s self esteem? How does judging what someone wears or doesn’t wear matter at all? How about “Wow you’re running, around the block, a 5K , a marathon – who cares – awesome job on getting out there and doing something good for yourself!”

  • Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork March 28, 2014, 1:46 pm

    I read about this story as well. How awful on Self’s behalf to not only ask for pictures without telling people what they’re using it for, but using this poor woman’s picture! I hope they’ve learned their lesson. I don’t understand the point–shouldn’t they be encouraging people to be physically active, no matter what they wear? I mean,they’re always putting models and actresses on the front of their cover in a bra top and tiny bottoms, which I would never dream of wearing to the gym.
    I especially love outfits for themed runs. I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to participate in last year’s CHAD Hero–a 5k, 10k, and half to benefit Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. The costumes were amazing and made me smile, so I can only imagine how the kids felt!
    Thank you for talking about this. We should be supporting each other as women, fellow runners, and human beings, not alienating each other!

  • Jessica A March 28, 2014, 1:48 pm

    I ran my first marathon in January wearing a bright green sparkly tutu. I think it reminded me not to take myself too serious! It was a really fun and rewarding experience.
    I linked to the glam runner website and made a donation to the Girls on the Run of San Diego in their honor! Thanks for spreading the good word!!

  • Heather March 28, 2014, 2:37 pm

    As a GOTR coach, I have been known to run in a tutu, plastic hula skirt and lei, very warm knees socks, funky sunglasses, etc. It’s all part of the spirit of GOTR! I will say that they are the most fun, moving and inspirational races you will ever participate in. GOTR is meant to inspire girls to be kind, compassionate and to avoid gossip and judgment. It says a lot about Monika and Tara that they have taken the “high road” and I really hope the publicity leads to more donations in their honor.

  • Tara B March 28, 2014, 5:30 pm

    Thanks for the support! People like you have helped turned this into something positive! #tutusrock – Super Girl 🙂

    • Caitlin March 28, 2014, 5:39 pm

      You rock too Tara! Thanks for all you have done for GOTR and for Monika!

  • Olivia March 28, 2014, 5:32 pm

    Wow, I used to enjoy reading SELF magazine. What really upset me about this was their cop out of an apology. Their apology was clearly made b/c they felt like they had to, not because they meant it. They took little responsibility, calling it inadvertent insensitivity, and barely seem like they care. What a shame. Mistakes happen, but their insincere apology will keep me from buying or supporting SELF again. I’ll use my money to buy a tutu from Glam Runner instead! 🙂

  • Michele March 28, 2014, 7:00 pm

    Thank you for this post, Caitlin! I just read that Monika has decided to put this debacle behind her and focus on the positive. In just 24 hours they raised over $4,000 for their organization, and she is truly thankful for all of the support! We all know what Self did was wrong, but I appreciate that you took the time today to create a blog post that was both positive and informative. Many of us now know where we can donate and what these organizations do. I have worn a tutu in past races, and I will certainly do it again….this time, I will be thinking of Monika and the many others who are strong enough to fight these health battles every day and still get out there and run!

  • Hannah March 28, 2014, 10:14 pm

    I’ve never raced in a tutu, but I might have to try. It looks like self mad a big mistake- why is embarrassing women, or causing anyone shame, EVER a selling point? It’s frustrating, because “we” are buying this stuff, everyday. Thanks for focusing on the positive. The picture of those two crossing the finish line together is such a beautiful image of friendship.

  • Alyssa March 29, 2014, 9:43 am

    Yes, I have! Did my first half marathon this past February (Disney Princess) in a tutu, dressed as Belle. Running in a tutu is such a fantastic feeling!

  • Aerevyn March 29, 2014, 10:12 am

    I think the operative word in the sentence is “running,” not “tutu.” We have a national problem with obesity and people being inactive, and they focus on a little sparkle? Really? Missed opportunity.

    I haven’t worn a tutu (yet!), but it could really be fun … maybe with fairy wings.

  • Dianne March 29, 2014, 12:37 pm

    I started reading your blog because of that terrible article you were in. It made no sense and had no substance so I had to see for myself. Then I found out, after reading yours, and some other blogs, that the article was absolutely untrue. Did they have nothing else to write about so they made things up? They should not have gotten away with that article and SELF should not get away with this. I also do not believe the apology was adequate.

    Personally I so loved the picture of those two gorgeous women crossing the finish line. They looked beautiful in the tutus. They should be celebrated not slammed.

    Oh, and by the way because of you, I now run.

    • Caitlin March 29, 2014, 4:40 pm

      Thank you for this comment 🙂 I appreciate it so much!

  • Kelly March 29, 2014, 2:22 pm

    Here’s the thing: I didn’t get the point of the article anyway! Who cares what someone else chooses to run in? Are we to the point now that we have to judge what people choose to wear when working out? It isn’t enough that someone is making a choice to exercise and be healthy but now they need to wearing something Self deems good enough?! Shame on Self for even making it an issue but I’m thrilled that The Glammer Runner is selling out of tutus.

  • Erin @ TheGrassSkirt March 29, 2014, 8:07 pm

    I’ve been a SELF reader for years, and even though they apologized, the whole thing was kind of disappointing and sad. I had to unfollow them and unsubscribe because it just didn’t feel right to support them.

  • Alex @ Kenzie Life March 30, 2014, 7:58 pm

    Wow, I hadn’t heard about what SELF wrote, but it makes me really happy that I stopped subscribing to their magazine about 5 years ago. I cannot believe what they wrote could even cross someone’s mind. Running a marathon in a tutu while also fighting brain cancer? That is unbelievably badass if you ask me, because I can’t even run a half marathon in Lulu pants! The apology was absolutely warranted and like you said, at the very least their organization is getting some exposure as well as GOTR! I think it’s the individual’s attitude and what they’re trying to achieve more so than what they are wearing that makes them legit. However, I’d be down to race in a tutu 🙂 or any other girly costume!

  • Andrea @ With a Side of Magic March 30, 2014, 8:25 pm

    I feel like you didn’t actually look at the blurb in the magazine. It was on a scale of legit to lame, and it fell under the “We’re Not Sold on This” category. No one called them lame!

  • Bobbie March 31, 2014, 11:18 am

    I personally have never run in a tutu and I honestly don’t think I would unless I was running one of the disney races in a costume…maybe? I just don’t like to call attention to myself and I’ll admit when I’m racing I probably take myself a little too seriously. I’ll also admit that I’ve seen people run in them and thought it silly. Now I have thought it but would never out loud make fun of someone like that. So although it’s not my thing I would not openly criticize someone like SELF did. Nor would I have the heart contact someone and ask permission to use their photo and not tell them that I was printing it to make fun of them. This reminds me of when you healthy living bloggers were interviewed by a magazine for what you thought was a positive story about your blogs. Then it turned out they twisted it into a negative story. Shameful for women to treat other women this way. So high school!

    • Carina March 31, 2014, 2:55 pm

      I agree with this (or at least what I read as part of your thought). The thing about tutus I don’t like is that it suggests women are worrying about looking cute and having fun, instead of taking themselves seriously and working hard. I don’t think you always have to work hard, and I certainly think it’s wrong to make fun of anyone or worry about what others are wearing, but the tutu phenomenon makes me wonder why aren’t more women proud and happy to “sweat” instead of “glisten” and making it clear they’re not out there to look cute and have fun? My comment relates in no way to the runners in the picture — running a marathon while going through chemo is insanely amazing. Major props to her, and I like that you’ve focused on the positive.

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