As a woman who largely identifies with being a "runner," the running man emoji is a constant in my iPhone's “frequently used” section of smileys and ideograms. Whether I’m coordinating a group run, sharing a mileage recap with my coach, or giving a rundown of my weekend to a friend, the opportunities to incorporate the red-shirted running man in texts are endless. But one thing that has continued to disappoint me, text after text (and tweet after tweet!), is the fact that there is no woman runner emoji. The lack of a female runner in the large library of emoticons — featuring everything from old-school camcorders to tacos — was a little disheartening, especially for women like myself who closely identify with the sport.
That’s why I’m psyched to find out that along with Apple’s iOS 10 update available for iPhone comes exactly what I and other women have been waiting for: a female runner emoji! The female runner girl for iOS 10, which became available on Sept. 13, can be identified by a blue tank top, purple running shorts, and of course, the sneakers on her feet, which are noticeably frozen in a runner’s stride. She looks determined and focused on her path ahead, and I can't wait to start sending her to everyone I know!
The only tiny issue I have with the runner girl emoji is that she runs with her hair down, rather than secured with a hair tie. As a runner myself, I have firsthand experience knowing that the question, “Do you have an extra ponytail holder?” is one of the most commonly asked among female runners and gym goers, largely because running with your hair down is pretty unrealistic. Yet the concept as a whole is still pretty exciting.
I’m not the only one who has been waiting for this moment. Notable professional female runners like Molly Huddle (she won both the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter races at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials this year) has campaigned for a female runner emoji in the past. In October of 2015, Huddle tweeted, “When can we get a girl runner emoji? It’s hampering my communication,” and after getting a positive response, she presented the idea to the Unicode Consortium.
It looks like her advocacy has paid off! Lucky for me, Huddle, and all active women, the iOS 10 update features more than 100 new and redesigned emoji characters, and as a nod to gender diversity, many (like our beloved runner girl) are in female form. Now, you can text and tweet a female swimmer, mountain biker, surfer, and basketball player, to name a few.
Those who really like to run can go the extra mile by downloading Runner Pack (pictured above) by online running community Finishers Club. Featuring 29 runner-specific stickers, Runner Pack has everything you need to describe your run, upcoming 5K, or training plan. Stickers include all kinds of running paraphernalia, like sneakers, marathon bumper stickers and even granola bars. The best — or perhaps, most accurate — part? Runner Pack's female runner girl is a little more realistic: she runs with her hair in a ponytail.
Now get out there and run! Or at least, text somebody about it.