It’s not often I talk about my running on this website…normally I save that for my other business venture www.toofattorun.co.uk
I am a runner. I have run hundreds of races all over the world. I write books about running. I have helped thousands of women across the globe to thrive and survive and thrive in the sport of running.
I am 100% a runner.
But…running is only part of the story.
I set up my blog The Fat Girls Guide to Running in 2010 after coming last in a race. I set up that blog not because I wanted to build a business, or become some kind of guru, I set up that blog because I felt incredibly alone.
I literally did not know any other runners who looked like me.
In fact I knew very few people who ran full stop.
I set up my blog almost 10 years ago because I wanted to connect on a human level with other people who could
People often ask me why I run.
It is not because I love the action of running that’s for sure…most of the time I hate it. But what I do love is the community around the sport that just feels incredible when it shows itself in its best light.
When there is no competition, no power struggle, no them and us. When we all come together as equals with a shared goal and just do something ridiculously fun, and for a good cause. Thats when in feels good.
Yesterday morning my alarm wen off at 7 am and it was minus 2 degrees outside. I got up had breakfast got dressed and made my way into central London along with 20,000 other runners who were braving the cold to run the Cancer Research 10K Winter Run event.
This is the 5th year I have done this event, and I keep coming back.
Because it is 100% an example of people coming together with a shared goal. Everyone plays their part. The run organisers, Westminister Council, the sponsors, the runners, the spectators, the entertainment around the course, and the people who donate to all of the fundraisers taking part in the event.
Oh and their volunteers dress up as polar bears, wolves and penguins…whats not to love?
For the past few years I have run a meet up for the women in my running community, and anywhere between 10 and 20 of us will gather across the road from Charing Cross station and have a bit of a natter before making our way to the start line.
These are women who only know each other from a Facebook page….many have never met in real life before.
Women who quite often have issues with anxiety, and feelings of not being good enough.
But our community is like a family, and we support each other and do everything we can to make them feel safe and a valued part of the team.
A funny thing happened while I was running yesterday.
A funny thing between myself and another lady from my group Natalie.
We didn’t plan it, it just happened, and it changed the race for both of us. It might sound simple to you, but for us it was MASSIVE.
Firstly, we both run the whole 10K without walking…for her this was the first time ever and for me, I was in no way thinking I would manage it after coming back from flu at the beginning of the year.
The more shocking thing was we ran together.
We literally run the 75% of the race side by side. We chatted a little. We spent some time quietly plodding along. But we ran together nethertheless. At around 7 and a half kilometers Natalie found some speed, and a group of runners got in between us and she went off into the distance, but let me tell you having that company gave me the confidence not to stop and to keep pushing forward.
We spoked about it briefly on the tube home.
And then yesterday in my group she posted,
I’ve never run that distance before without stopping and would never have been able to do it without you beside me. As someone who is a staunch solo runner, today was a real pleasure and I learned how the right support can enable you to go much further than you imagined. I’ve never enjoyed a running experienced as much as today it wasn’t fast but felt strong. I actually think I enjoy running
There is an old african proverb that says,
If you want to go fast you go alone and if you want to go far you go together
This is not just true in the sport of running, it is true everywhere.
The power of community, or doing things collectively, of having a team, a mastermind, some business buddies…its is EVERYTHING.
The work I do with Too Fat to Run (which is about to become a social enterprise) is never just about the running.
It is about the power of togetherness, about using that collective power for good. That is what business should be about. Yes, of course, lets make money and work towards improving our lives…but lets not forget that business can also be a vehicle for so much more than that.
I have spent more than 20 years of my life bringing people together.
I am an expert community builder…that is my new self appointed job title and I’m sticking to it.
In March I will be starting a new programme for female entrepreneurs to help them build powerful communities of followers, fans, customers, clients and partners…to help them grow the kinds of businesses that really make a difference in this world.
Check out this link for more information, and d
And maybe I will see you at the start line of a mass participation race (of one kind or another) very soon.