SEATTLE — Long-time Seattle writer Haley Shapley has covered many stories in her career. But her most life-changing work came from a subject she never intended to write about.
"A few years ago I decided to sign up for a bodybuilding show and the reaction was really interesting. On one hand, people were curious about what it would be like to be on stage, what my training program looks like. And on the other hand, I had a group of people who warned me not to get too big because men don't like that," said Haley. “So I decided I wanted to know more about the women who came before me because, obviously, I wasn't the first person to pick up a barbell."
Her curiosity became the book, 'Strong Hike Her: A Celebration of Rule Breakers, History Makers, and Unstoppable Athletes.'
"I think that all the women that I interviewed really understand the benefits that pushing the limits of their physical capabilities have brought to their lives. I was really hoping to portray a wide range of athletes so everyone could see someone who embodied the quality that they could relate to," said Haley. "I also hope that people are inspired by reading these stories and feel moved to reconsider their own ideas about their bodies."
Haley's book goes beyond what women have accomplished in the training room.
"Physically strong women have helped give women the right to vote. They've been on the forefront advocating for equal pay for equal work," said Haley.
"And they continue to make an impact today."
Haley Shapely may have written a book about the achievements of female athletes, but she knows the story is much bigger than that.
"When women realize that their potential is so high and they can achieve so much, it really changes them."
You can watch Haley and 5 other inspiring speakers at 425 and South Sound Magazine's 5th annual Women to Watch speaker series. This virtual event happens live on September 17th at 7 p.m. You can get more information and buy tickets at 425magazine.com. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Kirkland non-profit Washington Women in Need.