“I’m a runner.”
How many of you reading this are truly comfortable saying those three little words?
If our experience of talking to thousands of running mums over the years is anything to go by, we’d say not many.
You might say “I run”, if you can finish your sentence with “but not very far”, “but I’m always at the back”, or “but I’m really slow”.
Saying “I’m a runner” – with no ifs or buts – is something most of our community just aren’t comfortable doing. Even to women who have run half marathons, the phrase can seem daunting and unnatural, inviting others to pick apart all of the reasons why you’re not really a proper runner.
And it’s this fear of criticism and ridicule that holds us women back and keeps us self-effacing in sport. Research has shown that a fear of being judged is the overarching concern that puts women off exercise.
Ever since we were little girls, we’ve been told that runners look a certain way, and dress a certain way. We’ve been told that they run for speed, distance or PBs. If we don’t fit this mould, we don’t feel that we have any right to call ourselves runners at all.
Well ladies, you have every right.
If you escape a screeching toddler once a week to run for 10 minutes up and down your street in a baked bean-stained pyjama top, you’re a runner. If you take up running aged 65 and half-walk, half-jog around your village once a fortnight to get outside in the fresh air, you’re a runner. If you finish last and red-faced but beaming at your local parkrun, you’re a runner.
Because here’s the simple truth: your age, size, shape, experience, and clothing don’t matter.
If you run, you’re a runner, full stop.
This year, we want you to make it your New Year’s resolution to say “I’m a runner” out loud (regularly) and to really believe it. No more excuses, no more selling yourself short.
Make your pledge to call yourself a runner in 2018 by posting on our Facebook wall using #RunnerFullStop. We want to hear about whatever’s held you back from calling yourself a runner in the past, and why you’re proud to be a runner now. 2018 is the year that we will all stop doubting ourselves, together. Because we’re better than that!
Look out from more from us on our #RunnerFullStop campaign in the next few weeks.