So, there’s a stereotype, there’s a runner who is generally six-foot-tall, is a male, really really attractive, all toned, great muscles, just generally very very confident. When actually, runners are mums, runners are women that are really busy, they don’t have the size zero figure, they are absolutely tired, but they are still dedicated. They want to join in, and they want to meet other people. They want to be part of the running culture. So, a runner does not need to be a person we see in a magazine or we see on a website, it can be anybody. That’s what I look like. I’m a mum, I’m small in height and I don’t have that perfect body but I’m still wanting to be part of that running culture. I want to be a dedicated runner. I want to change the norms, I want to be seen as someone who is a runner and break that stereotype. Our wellbeing is really really important, so we need to show that. It’s not just that one image we get like in that Nike advert. We come from all cultures, all backgrounds and that’s what running is about…

I used to think running was about running a 10k every day, and that put me off, scared me, but coming here I realised a runner is someone who gets there, makes it in whatever clothes they are wearing, in whatever they feel comfortable in, and manages to do a few laps at their own pace and manages to finish at whatever point they are going to finish. To be a part of that is more digestible. It’s made me look at running completely differently. It’s made me want to do more. It’s made me want to encourage more women to realise it can be done, it’s a bite size thing like anything, it’s about getting there. It’s not about being really fast, it’s the fact that you’re there and you’re willing and taking part. That’s really really empowering because it’s made me think that I can belong to something as well and I can enjoy it most off all.

I think I feel really empowered and I do feel liberated at the same time….because it means that I can change that norm because it shows that you don’t need to be in a health shop buying all these expensive items, we just need to be ready and willing. Most of all, the way it can change your mood is amazing… it enables you meet people as you’re jogging along, having these really nice conversations when somebody might say to you, “I’m out of breath, I’m finding this hard” and then for some reason you start feeling comfortable and you start, sharing your worries as you’re sort of jogging along. Those experiences are really really empowering. It makes you realise that on a daily basis we feel like we are alone but actually, that there are a lot of people out there potentially feeling the same. They are worried, they’re anxious, you know, but when we finish and we all huddle up together you know, to say we made it through the session and we’ll see you again next week, it’s…you know…you come back next week because of those women. You come back because you’re part of a group and you’re not alone. So that realisation is just amazing. 

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