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So I am sitting here prepping for the next stage of the Voom process (YES WE ARE THROUGH TO THE LAST 40!!!!), where I will be interviewed by 6 experts in various aspects of my business from operations, to legal, sales to marketing…and today its all about collating the most up to date stats to support my business venture.

So when I received two new press release about sport and physical activity straight to my inbox this morning I was like…thank you universe!!

Latest figures from Sport England’s Active People Survey show that 15.83 million people over the age of 16 played sport in the 12 months to 31 March 2016 showing an increase by over 340,000 in the last year….can I claim any of that change do you reckon?

Because…

Whilst 81,900 more men are playing sport, the overall increase is largely because more women are getting active – accounting for over 75 per cent of the increase (261,200). The gender gap in sport has therefore reduced slightly, to 1.6 million….which is good news right?

jpsquare2Jennie Price, Sport England chief executive, said:

These figures are encouraging, especially the significant increase in the number of women playing sport and being active every week. Sport England has worked particularly hard to get more women active, and it’s good to see this is having an impact.

However there has been a small reduction in the number of disabled people playing sport, down 2,400 in the last year…and for many overweight women having impairments just adds to their frustrations of not being able to take part. Slightly more people from less advantaged backgrounds are now active too, up just under one percentage point to 26.4 per cent.

It’s clear that getting the nation moving is a huge priority for us all, and this was more than obvious when it was revealed earlier this week that 1 in 10 of the #Voom pitches at the pitchathon was a fitness related one…although looking at the semi finalists, only 3 have made it to this stage, or 4 if you include Golf…but not sure Golf is going to change the health of our nation, do you?

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You see, 48% of inactive people according to Sport England do want to do more exercise, but often don’t know where to start or the offer is not right for them, but it is interesting that so many people involved in the health and fitness industry get so defensive about their offer believing if its good enough for some, its good enough for everyone.

There is a strong belief for example that overweight and inactive folk should all be shipped off to the local gym, or to Zumba in the village hall if they are a woman…and the problem is solved.

Easy!!!

Even within the running world this narrow minded approach still exists, with people regularly telling me my programmes are not needed because there is a strong network of running clubs up and down the country that do what I do.

There are indeed 2.49million people taking part in athletics in England each week, newly released official figures have shown. With the number of people aged 14+ who take part in athletics, including running, on a weekly basis rising 5% in the year to April 2016.

This means there are over 1million more people taking part in the sport each week compared to 10 years ago. The latest figure for those aged 16+ taking part on a weekly basis also rose to 2.35million, with the number of women participating having now more than doubled.

England Athletics Head of Running Participation Matt Birkett said,

Running is physical activity at its simplest. It’s sport in its purest sense and a form of exercise in which anyone can be involved. It is this natural simplicity, as well as the obvious benefits to an individual’s health and wellbeing, that attracts such a wide variety of people to take up and continue running.

But not everyone has the confidence to rock up to their local club, or parkrun on a Saturday morning, further more many of us simply can’t meet in the evenings or weekends when most people run…so what provision is there for them?

And how mindful are mainstream sports providers being of the psychological and physical barriers that exist for overweight and long term inactive participants. Who has their back, who listens to their concerns and encourages them to start at a pace that is right for them, and not give up when it gets tough?

This is where Too Fat to Run steps in.

Whether traditional running clubs like it or not, the running landscape is changing at a rate of knotts with technology and social media absolutely driving this….and we saw more than 60 ladies over the last weekend join The Clubhouse our unique online running club…evidence if ever you need it that there is a role for virtual programmes.

Virgin Media Business VOOM World Record 29-Hour Pitchathon at The Hoxton, London, Britain, 1 June 2016Do you know how incredible it felt standing in front of the 5 Voom judges pitching to them about my idea to improve the health or our nation? And more importantly getting the positive feedback I did from them all. They got it. They understood the problem that needs to be solved and they saw the potential in the brand to start addressing it.

From 3000 UK Business, including hundreds of fitness brands I am down to the last 40, the last 20 in fact in the Grow category…all I can do now is showcase what we have achieved so far, and hope the judges recognise the huge opportunity that lies ahead to disrupt and challenge the status quo that exists in sport.

Click here to find out more about our online running club, The Clubhouse

More information on the Active People Survey can be found at www.sportengland.org.

For more details about the semi finalists can be found at www.vmbvoom.com/semifinalists

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