People who inspire us - Spirited Women founder Neil Gellatly

People who inspire us - Spirited Women founder Neil Gellatly

We had a wee brainstorm in the Whaiora office about who we thought was inspiring. Who dares to be a bit different? Who doesn’t just say inspiring stuff but gets out there and lives it? One man who was top of everyone’s mind is Neil Gellatly, Spirited Women founder.

He inspires us cause he decided to take a risk and start up a badass women’s only event which is unlike anything we’ve seen in New Zealand. Neil said he could have made life easy and created another stock standard event that he knew would perform well, but where’s the fun in that!?

Neil decided to go out on a limb and run something quite different and create something he really believes in, and it’s paid off. In its first year Spirited Women had 464 entries, last year it blew up to 1200 entries, and for 2018 they had to cap numbers at 1440 – it sold out super-fast.

For those that don’t know much about Spirited Women, we asked Neil to give us the lowdown.

“In a nutshell it’s four girlfriends, be it school mates, girlfriends, or work colleagues, who go on a girl’s weekend away. Talking about the actual event race itself, it’s about staying together as a team and navigating around a course by foot, kayak, and mountain bike.

“We also put on a registration expo the day before the race which is part of the whole experience with fun things like a movie screening and yoga sessions.”

Neil’s been in the race event business since 2004, so he really knows his stuff. He said he got the idea for Spirited Women from similar overseas events but gave it a Kiwi feel and added his own personal touch. This included choosing partners which aligned with the event’s values.

“Whaiora is the perfect match when it comes to our morals, ethics and ethos. With Spirited Women, we want to encourage healthy lifestyle choices by providing a fun but beneficial form of exercise.

“It didn’t take us long to realise Whaiora had a winning product, with no colours or additives, it takes us back to what food used to be and should be – packed with real ingredients.”

And something we love to ask everyone in the Whaiora community, what’s Neil’s own pursuit to wellness?

“I guess it’s about creating something which encourages, motivates and empowers them to get out there, get active, and enjoy the outdoors. A lot of people don’t realise that wellness doesn’t happen overnight. It happens in stages through promoting good exercise and food choices, and with Spirited Women and the other events we put on, I’d like to think we’re playing our part helping people make those good exercise choices.