What made you get into running?
I never enjoyed running as a youngster but stopped all together once I became a teenager and then it was never something that interested me because I didn’t know anyone else that ran. Then a work colleague asked me to get involved with a community fun run 3K it was and I signed up. I was shocked at how unfit I was and some little kid in the park shouted “Run Fatty Run” at me and I sat with my finishers medal afterwards in my car crying and all red faced. I decided I needed to do something about my fitness and running seemed like as good a sport as any. I was very inconsistent though and felt very self conscious, it was only really when I started writing about my running via my blog oh and signing up to a marathon that I really started seeing any improvements.
What has been your proudest/best running moment?
This year I trained 4 ladies from my running community in preparation for the London Marathon, all 5 of us finished and I had the pleasure of running with one of the ladies the whole way round. It was the first time ever I had completed a race (especially a longer distance one) where it was all about the other person finishing. The atmosphere was electric and I got loads of support from the crowd and fellow runners who follow my blog.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced?
Getting back into running after having my daughter. I had lost confidence in my body all over again and felt guilty leaving her at home to go and run. There were a lot of raised eyebrows when I started entering races but by that point running was keeping me sane, it was the only thing I had that was just for me. I wanted to be a good role model for my daughter and she is my biggest supporter (even if she is only 2)
Who is your inspiration, and why?
I don’t really have any one person from the running world that inspires me, I guess I am am inspired by my community, the women who get out there and run despite being told by their families they shouldn’t, women who get abuse in the street and still don’t give up. Going for a run for the first time as an overweight women can be so difficult, the fear is crippling and all it takes is one comment or a car beeping and it can prevent you from wanting to go out ever again.
What are your future goals?
Running wise I am working on bringing my 5K time to under 30 minutes, my PB from last year is 30.06 (so close), I am not sure if I have time to train for another marathon but never say never. I am working on developing my virtual 5K #OneBigFatRun and would love to see this grow over the next few months. Its such a simple concept and its really reaching women (and a few men) that wouldn’t normally take part in races. I am also looking for speaking opportunities at the moment, I really want to get my message out there to local health boards, commercial companies and basically whoever needs to hear the message that it is inactivity and unhappiness which is killing us and not necessarily our expanding waist lines
What would be your one piece of essential advice to someone looking to start up running?
Consistency is key. It doesn’t matter how far or how fast your un, but it does matter how frequently. The sooner it becomes a part of who you are the sooner you will fall in love with it and it will feel less of a chore. I think its also really important not to worry too much about speed, we always think being slow equates to being a rubbish runner…I would say a rubbish runner is someone who never runs.
What is your favourite piece of running kit?
I know this sounds like self promotion, but its my To Fat to Run vest. I spent years squeezing into horrible race tops and cringing when I saw the pictures and then I bit the bullet and designed my own. It fits me perfectly and is bright so gives me confidence just to get on and do my best. I also love the response it gets from spectators and other runners, it motivates me not to walk too…the slogan is not so powerful if I am walking heads down looking like I want to give up…I am sure it makes me run faster too. It makes me smile and often makes other people smile and that makes me happy.
What’s your favourite thing about running?
When you become a runner you become part of this global family, which means wherever you are in the world you can find someone with common ground. It has given me the confidence to make friends, take on new challenges and basically adds a lot of value to my life. I love that you can make running part of your lifestyle and combine it with loads of other things like visiting friends, spending time with loved ones and my other favourite pastime of course drinking beer!!
As it’s Women in Sport Week: What do you think is the biggest challenge for women runners, & how do you overcome them?’ FEAR. We are so fearfull of so many things…what we look like, what other people thing, wether we are good enough. You have to really think about WHY you are doing it in the first place…weightloss is not a good enough reason, because then success is measured by what is on the scales…there has to be something else…for me its about happiness…running makes me happy, the more I do it the happier and healthier I feel. Using your motivation on the days when you really can’t be bothered or when you have a difficult session will hopefully help you get through.