One Big Fat Run in November

Sunday marked our fourth mass participation event for plus sized runners #onebigfatrun, a virtual 5k that is FREE to sign up to and open to anyone willing to get involved. There event is going from strength to strength and really building momentum with runners of all shapes and sizes from all over the world, but rather than give you a round up of who ran this time and in what times, I thought I would focus on one group of ladies who have been there from the start.

I call them my Thornhill ladies, and to be quite honest I had to have a look on Googlemaps to work out where Thornhill even was. It is in SCOTLAND!!

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Hitting the headlines

Anyway,it is this group that send me the most exciting photos without fail each month and illustrate the potential this type of event has for getting groups involved in running. They have even managed to get a double paged featured about the project in their local paper. So I asked Maureen and Jax the ringleaders a few questions

Who are the Thornhill Group? How many of you and what kinda women?

Maureen: Ok, we are a group of women, men, children and even dogs who have come together over the past few months to encourage each other and those in the community to get more active and have some fun!  We have always “dangled a carrot” of a cuppa and perhaps a peanut butter cookie at the end as an incentive to take part and it seems to work!  Its non-competitive (apart from with yourself) and fun and seems to have made people realise that they can do so much more than they ever thought possible.  We have contacts in Dumfries through work and other interests and this has encouraged people to come up to the rural village to take part as there is  nothing else quite like this in the area!

Our group does have a core of people who come each month and they are now members of the” Leverets Trail Running Group” that was formed after the first Big Fat Run, when I suggested to a couple of people that they might like trail running and this has gone from strength to strength and keeps us meeting at least twice a week and is continually increasing in size.  At the moment there is 40+ members of the group who come and go when they are able or are still hoping to start!  Some weeks we have had as many as 17 trail runners of all abilities and the smallest was just 4 on Saturday!

How did you hear about #onebigfatrun?

Maureen: I was initially invited by Jacqueline Wilson on facebook and since she had decided to run round Thornhill I said I would join her and so it began …………… I asked a friend and they asked someone else and so on!  I am so grateful to her for starting all of this.  We have not only all found a common interest, got healthier and fitter but have found friendship!

Jax: I saw that a Facebook friend posted something in the August big fat run, so I went and had a look. Read the description and thought what a good idea it was! As a plus sized runner I knew the issues that being self conscious raise and lots of people had been speaking to me about how I had lost weight and how did I do it. I invited all those people that had expressed an interest to me about wanting to get fitter but not having the confidence to go out and do it. I also invited some people who I knew ran already.

Why did you get involved?

Jax: I got involved as this is something close to my personal interests. I want to get fitter and I (selfishly) wanted other people to join in!  As we live in a relatively small community it was so good to get everyone together and get us all exercising!

Maureen: I have always believed that everyone is capable of running or at least trying and seeing the difference exercise can make to people is the most encouraging thing to keep going!  I love passing on the running bug!  If I can anyone can is my moto!  We (Leverets) also have adopted the Lilo and Stitch motto of Ohana – means family – means no one is left behind!! Everyone starts at the same place and we all know the feeling of panic of “ we can’t do it, we are not good enough and that were holding folks back”!  I would like to think that no one feels like this with our group.  I had been fortunate and been encouraged to get out running with others earlier in the year with one of our group and wanted to give something back!

IMG_1905How was the very first event? How did you feel afterwards?

Maureen: The first event was fantastic and great to share a common interest with others and we soon realised we had similar thoughts and problems which maybe we could just help each other with and encourage each other on the way.

Jax: Honestly after the first event I felt relieved and a bit sick (day after my birthday party). I felt a huge sense of accomplishment – it was the first run I had organised and I was overwhelmed by the turn out of lovely ladies of all sizes interacting and bonding to make new friendships.

 

What are you average times?

Jax: My average time is around 45min I’m a plodder plus I like to stop and talk to people who are walking or slow down to urge others on – people don’t realise the potential and inner strength they have and I will concede the majority are now faster than me and I love it!!

Maureen: Our times vary from around 35 minutes from the fastest runners to over an hour for the walkers!

Do you run the same route?

Maureen: We do tend to do the same route as it makes it easier for organisation with as many folks coming along and its good to see how you improve each month!  The hills are definitely getting easier! Especially with the dog tied round your waist lol!

Jax: Yes, we run the same route – it’s all road reasonable surface and has a few good climbs as well as a relieving downhill section. I feel it gives our runners a sense if accomplishment as they can say – well I made it up the hill this time or I’ve knocked a few minutes off my last run.

Did you all run before?

Jax: Not everyone in our group had run before, I had but always on my own and since the first run Maureen brought to life the leverets trail running group who meet twice per week with an ever expanding group number!

Maureen: Some of us run before but as I said we have walkers and everyone has a different ability!

Has taking part had an effect on your running, has anyone seen any improvements?

Jax: I can’t say I’ve noticed but I am my own biggest critic. People have commented on my running technique and I have since taken part in two 10ks

Maureen: We are all a lot fitter than when the core group started!  And since the Leverets formed we are getting in lots more training, on a good week 30K!

Mags is too good to miss!  Don’t get me wrong there are days when I wonder why I bother but it soon passes when I get out running again and somebody says thanks!  I am a warrior against apathy just now and there is not much going for families that doesn’t cost loads of cash.  There are too many couples trying to enjoy themselves but not necessarily together.  Running is something the whole family can get out and do and we are so blessed with lovely wooded areas here and trails that are perfect for running!

Why have you continued to support the scheme?

Maureen: Personally I enjoy seeing others find themselves!  Its as simple as that, the transformation of people who start to exercise and start to believe they can change things is too good to miss!  Don’t get me wrong there are days when I wonder why I bother but it soon passes when I get out running again and somebody says thanks!  I am a warrior against apathy just now and there is not much going for families that doesn’t cost loads of cash.  There are too many couples trying to enjoy themselves but not necessarily together.  Running is something the whole family can get out and do and we are so blessed with lovely wooded areas here and trails that are perfect for running! 

Jax: I feel that this is a great opportunity for people – it’s a free run. No competition bar yourself and it is friendly.

1456926_662413347126529_477478651_nWhat are the benefits of taking part as a group?

Maureen: Being part of a group there is always usually someone who’s up for a run or a bleather.  We can compare running topics, health tips, moans, the lot!  We don’t pretend to be perfect and even encourage people to enjoy a well-earned treat, everything in moderation!

Jax: Our group are lovely – all shapes, all sizes, all age groups and everyone is welcome. The encouragement you feel when you are being cheered to the finish line by a group of smiling (if somewhat rosy) faces. We all stop at our local cafe for a coffee and a catch up on each other’s lives which brings us closer together.

What would you say to anyone thinking about doing it for the first time?

Jax: Dooooooooooo it! You’ll never look back!

Maureen: To anyone who’s wanting to do it for the first time I’d say the hardest part is putting on your shoes!  From then on it only gets easier.  If you don’t try you might never know what your truly missing and what your actually able to achieve if you just believe.  Running is 75% inspiration/determination 25% perspiration!

What does the future hold for the Thornhill Group and #onebigfatrun?

Jax: Hopefully we’re going to train with jog scotland and get out trail group recognised as a running group. For the #onebigfatrun I want it to get bigger and friendlier and more successful.

Maureen: We are so lucky we have made steps to secure our running future by starting our Trail Running group and in January we are hoping to become Jog Scotland Leaders so the group will become part of Jog Scotland.  I hope people keep spreading the running bug and continue to enjoy our monthly get –together!  Show by example seems to work.  Our children are coming along because THEY want to and we have a Junior Leverets group too!  I hope our fire and passion keep spreading and together we can help fight obesity and general apathy in this country!

So ladies. I would like to say a huge thank you to you all for embracing this project and look forward to seeing your group grow. If you are part of a running group or even if you are not but you have a group of friends that might be interested in taking part, get in touch, get involved!!!

Our next #onebigfatrun takes place on Sunday 27th December – YES it’s over the Xmas period…and YES we will be running in fancy dress, or at least a santa hat. You can sign up here!!!

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