Praise From Wilder Alums

2018 experiences

Wilder changed my life. In one weekend, how I approached both writing and running changed completely. I reminded myself what feeling empowered feels like. Thank you, so much, to the Wilder team.

-Jessica Stetson

I came to Wilder hoping to dig deeper into myself with my writing & running. That goal was achieved but I came away with so much more. The gift of amazing new friends, a reminder that I am enough and space to remember taking time for myself is important.

-Liz McHutcheon

Wilder Maine was unforgettable. Lauren, Marianne and the team created an open and safe space where we could unplug and learn the practice of wild writing, enjoy the natural beauty of Maine and spend quality time with our wild selves. I came to Wilder to rebuild my writing practice and I got that and much more out of the weekend. I was inspired, invigorated and encouraged with what I learned and left with a confidence to carry back with me and a connection to myself that I didn’t know that I needed.

-Kate Plourd Johnson

Wilder was such a wonderful experience and both my running and writing are better because of it!  I’m finally running some intervals again and enjoying the feeling of running faster. While I don’t write every day, I think about it daily and since Wilder I write more often than ever.

-Donna Rice

Wilder was a gift I gave myself. I went without any preconceived notions of what I would experience and it gave me more than I could ever have dreamed. I got to write, reflect, run, practice yoga and connect with other women. The writing skills I learned there were easily applied to my life at home and I am so grateful for those four days in Maine.

-Melissa Whitney

Honestly, the impact of Wilder happened to me some time after I attended! But I think that speaks to the specialness of the experience, of your fellow writers' stories, and of the invaluable moments of sharing your own love of writing and running with different but similar people. The experience of Wilder was soul shaking, in a really overwhelming but extremely positive and eye opening way -- go, you're gonna savor it for a very long time.

-Kaitlyn Ramirez

On the surface, this retreat already seemed custom-made for me: running, writing, the great outdoors, fabulous food, and even more fabulous women. Yet the experience itself was even more powerful than I could have imagined. Something about the magical alchemy of a safe space, wise leaders, and freedom from distraction lifted a weight off of my shoulders I never realized was there. I emerged feeling like all of the tough, crusty layers of myself had been peeled away. I want to do it again.

-Allison Goldstein

Words cannot quite convey the soulful experience of WILDER. Upon joining this tribe of women, I knew no one, but I left feeling connected with everyone. What was equally profound was my reconnection with self. This perfect blend of running and writing in the beauty of Caldera expanded my capacity to be vulnerable and to take in all that was so graciously offered. This retreat will open you, support you and change you. I’m full of gratitude.

-Jennifer Federov

I always have so many thoughts and ideas jumbling around in my head. My job involves writing: short blogs, dashing off ideas, all under time pressure. So to have 3 days of space held for me to sit with my thoughts, chase an idea to its conclusion, and get into the meat of something that happened...that is gold. I highly recommend Wilder for any runner who writes or writer who runs. Plus the food is amazing :)

-Sarah Lesko


more Experiences

2016-2017 Attendees

"Wilder was a gift. It was everything I dreamed it would be and then so much better. It was like breathing clean air end not realizing that you'd been in the smog so long. It proved to me that beauty and strength are in every woman, and that we are far more alike than different. It was a picture of collaboration and camaraderie the way it was meant to be, without the insecurities and competition and living in masks like we do too often. It was real. And raw. I cried A LOT. And I laughed so hard I got side stitches and Hell Yeah I jumped naked and unashamed into that freakishly cold mountain lake while the sun rose and the birds giggled with us. Amen."

"Wilder connected me to women who, like me, are searching - searching for endurance, craft, connection, and direction - and as a result the weekend was affirming and life-giving. I emerged from Wilder with a deeper sense of my voice and my strength. What magic!"

"To be free. To be wild. To be my inner child. To connect deeply. To let go. To remember. To discover and uncover. To break free pieces of me. Wilder, I thank you."

"Wilder wrapped me up in the incredible capacity of the human heart, body, and creative spirit, in a gorgeous location with cool people and delicious food. Highly recommended for any kindred spirits fascinated by the intersections of running and writing."

"Wilder was able to create an unparalleled mixture of vulnerability and peace. It fully accepted me as the person, writer, and runner that I am while challenging me to be even more of myself in each role. Wilder created an environment where women could be their best at accepting, supporting, and loving other women."

"Wilder was a great escape from reality to really focus in on getting to know myself. It afforded the time to remember what I love about running -- the freedom to explore and adventure without the confines of day-to-day responsibility. The writing gave me a chance to explore my style and understand where I need to focus and drill deeper to develop my voice. It was a gift to myself that I didn't know I needed."

"If you need any kind of inspiration for wherever you are in life, this is the place for you. Bask in the gloriousness of authenticity for days that feel like weeks but aren't nearly enough time."

"I walked away from Wilder with momentum in my writing, a refreshed love of running, precious memories of soulful moments and new friends. It was a long journey from the East Coast and one that was worth every mile. I can't recommend it enough!"

"Wilder is an amazing opportunity -- to learn, dive deep, explore -- whether you want to glean inspiration or cultivate practices of running, writing and stretching. Each session brings together a rare group of gems. The connections I've forged and awareness I've gained at Wilder have brightened my life!"

"The experience you get at Wilder is analogous to being greeted by an old friend who you've always so easily connected with. I was reunited with the friend in myself and as a result I can hear her thoughts, emotions, and desires more clearly now than ever."

"Lauren declared that Wilder would be "life-changing" and it truly was! Every detail throughout the entire weekend was taken care of, allowing participants to truly disconnect from the outside world and fully immerse themselves in the Retreat. I would highly recommend Wilder for any runner/writer looking to dig a bit deeper into the core of who they are."

"One of those life changing experiences! A wonderfully welcoming, supportive, and safe space to explore running and writing in one of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. Thank you to Lauren and the incredible Wilder team!"

"Wilder gave me a chance to be all the favorite parts of me at once and permission to just completely enjoy it."

"I signed up for this retreat as a way to stretch myself and do something outside of my comfort level. I also wanted to shake things up and get out of the routine of my life. It was everything I hoped for and more--I rediscovered parts of myself that I had forgotten were there and was able to reignite a creativity and passion for running and writing that I have brought back home with me and will continue to foster. Thanks to all of the amazing, wild women who make this retreat happen!"

"The women of Wilder arrived as strangers and left as a team with bonds forged through shared experiences in both running and writing. I am so grateful to have been a part of this retreat. (Plus, the food and lodgings were spectacular!)"

"Oh, Wilder. I don't exactly know where to start, but I will certainly try. Admitting I wanted this was the first step, but Lauren and the Wilder Team provided an environment that allowed me to dig deeper, and explore more than I thought possible. I say it's been a life changing experience, and I can assure you it's not hyperbole. I'm eternally grateful for the experience."

"I've been on a lot of retreats and Wilder was an unparalleled experience — from the logistics, accommodations and food (amazing on all accounts) to the programming to the incredible space and community that Lauren, Marianne and the Wilder crew created for us. The experience helped me find new joy and inspiration in both my running and writing practices. And the women — fierce, strong, brave women who left me filled with so much hope and support. I would highly recommend this experience."

"In a world that can so often push you to be a smaller version of yourself, what an absolute pleasure it was to spend a few days investing in being wilder, surrounded by incredibly inspirational people."

"Wilder was a chance to explore what running and writing mean to me, and to be with a wonderful group of women who were kind, inspiring and a lot of fun. The retreat leaders were fully engaged and able to share their expertise while being approachable and warm. I would do this again in a heartbeat."

"The Wilder retreat really helped me to notice the similarities of running and writing practice. The workshops laid bare the self-defeating patterns and beliefs I was harboring about writing. The parallels between writing and running are uncanny. Whether you feel stronger in running or writing, exposing your comfort zones and awkward zones is both strengthening and humbling all in one."

"I knew Wilder would be something special, but it truly exceeded all my expectations, thanks to the incredible leaders, amazing staff and spot-on organization. Both my running and my writing will never be the same!"

"The Wilder retreat completely re-opened my writing doors and also offered me new opportunities to explore myself while running. I was totally blown away by the experience and pleasantly surprised at my natural ability to just open up, be myself and be social with other like-minded women. The environment felt safe but also felt challenging, in that I felt comfortable skipping out on activities, but nothing was "dumbed down" for anyone. You either did it, or you didn't. Lauren, Marianne and Julia all did a very good job!" - Caitlyn Pilkington

"Wilder was a beautiful way for me to find clarity in many aspects of my life, not solely within running and writing. I met so many wonderful women, and that community was more important than any of the activities we did. It was through community that I was able to be present and connect with the runner and writer in me and how those selves interact with my everyday life."

"Four days at Wilder was a journey in self discovery unlike anything I have experienced. It was a physical, mental, and emotional mountain that was so worth the climb. If you want to deepen your writing and running practices, get to know people with similar passions, and understand yourself better in the process, Wilder is the place. It's only flaw is that it ends."

"Wilder exceeded my expectations. I grew as a writer, a runner, and a person. Lauren, Marianne and Julia knew just what we needed and delivered it perfectly. I can't recommend it highly enough."

"Wilder Running exceeded any and all expectations I had about what a retreat could be. It helped me hit the reset button on inspiration and exploration of running, writing and myself. I met such wonderful women and got to soak up the wisdom of Lauren, Marianne and Julia. I am so grateful for the experience, and highly recommend it."

"I entered Wilder with no expectations and left with full heart. Wilder destroys societal negative connotations and proves that women are a force to be reckoned with. In the weeks since Wilder, I have felt an ongoing ability to be present in my life."

"This retreat will transform the way you approach both writing and running—challenging you to go deeper, providing you with courage, and helping unearth the power of movement—whether legs or hand—with a special group of people and retreat leaders."