First of all, I’m a mother and a wife. My husband and I have been together longer than I dare remember and our son is 16 going on 27. I love them both very much and they’re both incredibly supportive.
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 prosecco. And crisps. And running. 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 - 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.
I feel really strongly about larger women, older women, under confident women whatever their size feeling great through exercise - because it took me a long time to get there myself. I'm still that woman. 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 not a skinny ultra fit young thing – where it is recognised that just turning up is absolutely half the battle.
Four months later I met my first group of beginners. Seven months further on we've had over a hundred women through our beginners programme and we regularly have up to 30 women (run/walkers and non-stop runners) who meet at our Tuesday Tribe run.
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 the I Can Run club - EVERYONE is a winner.