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Signing up to a race long before you are physically or mentally ready to run it is brave, putting yourself forward to be watched by others while you prepare yourself for said race is even braver, yet still when I announced a few weeks ago that I would be helping 5 ladies to prepare themselves for a half marathon in just 12 weeks I had a whole heap of courageous women from up and down the country apply.

So on Sunday 4th October, at Race For Life’s and the UKs first ever female only half marathon (and marathon if you are really, really, really brave) these fabulous ladies will form the centrepiece of what is going to my very own pink army of Too Fat to Run runners. Check out how awesome they are and if you are feeling brave too why not consider joining them as part of the wider group of women from our awesome community who will be standing at the start line.

11781863_10153588327532780_6924806877514364565_nTamsin Jane Hicks moved back from Spain where she was teaching English to the UK in March and has been on a personal challenge ever since to get herself fitter, healthier and happier. In her application to take part she said

Watching you Julie and all the other lovely ladies, doing the VLM2015 really inspired me to get my trainers on. I’m not a small girl and definitely do not have the stereotypical physique of a runner but I am doing this to smash the stereotype to prove that anyone can do it if you try.

She says she is feeling determined at the moment and knows with the ladies in The Clubhouse as her support network it will be impossible to fail.

11755693_10155841738915500_3035170749515970769_nBianca Buss from East Sussex decided to put herself forward as she completed a 10k run recently and was looking for the next big challenge. She also saw the girls from The Clubhouse complete the London marathon and said she looked on at them with such awe and amazement.  She told me that she wanted to get involved with Race for life in particular as it is a great cause, she hopes the event will be more laid back and friendly than other bog races and she really liked the little extras they promise like family and friends being able to join in. I thought the friendly atmosphere would help push me without being overwhelmed. I asked her how she is feeling and she said,

I’m feeling really nervous at the moment but positive too. Since being in the club house, I’ve learnt to quieten my inner negativity, and push myself that much further. I’ve got myself a training plan and hope it helps in the next few weeks.

10388656_10152459935487463_4546170150706530146_nNatalie Powell from East London ran her first half marathon with me just over a year ago in the scortching heat of Southend on Sea, shortly after she said “never again” but a few weeks later announced she was going to run a Marathon in 2015. A few months later though disaster struck as she tripped over a kerb on a club run, hobbling about a mile home with what she thought was a badly sprained ankle. Turns out she had severe ligament damage and ended up in a cast for 2 months. Slowly but surely though she has been building back up her fitness and in back running parkruns. She says,

Since my accident last year. My fitness level has gone down hill and my weight has gone up. So I need some thing to focus on to keep me at it.. And what better way to do it than being in a women only half marathon. I’m nervous and scared in equal measure and now I really need to put the time in with my training.

1779910_10203783077592003_1666280582411230878_nKerry Bennet says she has a score to settle with a previous half marathon, where her lack of training and preparation which was mainly down to fear of being laughed at by ‘proper’ runners, meant she was unable to run it all and she still feels like she ‘failed’ at it. She says

I found this group a while ago and the support and encouragement it has offered me has simply given me the confidence to have another go at the half marathon distance and prove that whatever your size, you can do it.

But why RFL in particular?

What a fantastic cause, I have a friend, a young mum with 2 young children who not so long ago had to have a mastectomy – she’s now on the road to recovery and her future looks a whole lot brighter. If me running a few miles can help someone else have a brighter future then what better reason to run x

10170794_10152048883377584_3314433700620456633_nHowever…of all of our ladies Deb Cooper has the closest connection to the Race for Life, Cancer Research cause. With a high risk of breast and ovarian cancer herself, due to a faulty BRCA2 gene, she is part way through a series of preventative surgeries and says

Running is both a physical and mental challenge and a goal to strive for. I hope that all us women running and fundraising for Race for Life can raise enough that through vital research we find a less drastic solution to our inherited condition, for the sake of my children and any children they may have.

So what do you think of our fab 5 ladies? And more importantly do you have what it takes to take on cancer and conquer your fears all in one go? There are still 10 weeks to prepare so if you are already running a confident 5K that is plenty of time. There are already more than 20 ladies from The Clubhouse taking part so far, I will be running too and doing a meet and greet, oh and we are going to have our own TFTR cheering squad on the day too, so even if you don’t fancy the running why not put the date in your diary and get involved in what is due to be a truly inspirational day.

Click here for more info about the race which takes place on the 4th October in Lee Valley Country Park with details about what to expect on the day (a whole heap of pink awesomeness I reckon) and of course how to sign up.

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