I’m Emma, the founder of I Can Run but before that - I’m a mother and a wife. My husband and I have been together longer than I dare remember and our son is 18 going on 37. I love them both very much and they’re both incredibly supportive of all my crazy ideas.
I’m also the wrong side of 40 and have been overweight all my life. I’m passionate about body confidence and I really like crisps. And running. And loads of different kinds of exercise actually. I'm the least likely woman to be setting up a running group. I've never been 'sporty' and would always be put in goal in sports at school.
I haven't followed a traditional fitness leaders' journey either - I have the Run England's 'Leadership in Running Fitness' certificate, a kind heart, oodles of enthusiasm and a passion for everyone to succeed.
My Occupational Therapy background helps me understand how it feels when you fail trying an activity and what that means to a person – and how devastating it can be. I've been there in my running journey and have seen it in clinical practice. I really want to support women to achieve their full potential, we deserve it. Occupational Therapy underpins everything that I Can Run is about: Empowerment, Activity, Independence, Opportunity, Potential, Adaptation and of course, Meaningful Occupation.
I feel really strongly about ALL women, whatever their background feeling great through exercise - because it took me a long time to get there myself. In fact I'm still that woman, with doubts, highs and lows. I understand the psychological roller coaster it is to commit to fitness when you're not convinced you can do it.
In May 2016 I agreed to meet a bunch of women I'd only known online in the Peak District on a running weekend. It was a brave move and one I will never forget. It was there that I started dreaming about a running club where women could run/walk - people had fun and made friends while achieving things they never felt possible - just by starting out doing a little bit. People who have tried and failed can come and try and succeed in a safe space. For women to try again and feel proud of their achievements. Every. Single. Week. Where no-one judges – where the leader is just an average woman and where it is recognised that just turning up is absolutely half the battle.
Four months later I met my first group of beginners and now we've had hundreds of women through our beginners programme and we regularly have huge groups of women (run/walkers and non-stop runners) who meet at our Free runs.
There's no stopping me now - I want to spread the word and encourage women who have tried and failed to just keep trying and not be so hard on yourself. We're surrounded by fitness goals and pert bodies and society dictating what a 'fast' time is or that walking is 'cheating' or less of an achievement. This just makes it even harder to get started. There are thousands of women out there that don't try because they think they'll fail. Not here, not at I Can Run - here, EVERYONE is a winner.