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This months featured athlete is a lovely lady who has been following the Fat Girls Guide to Running for as long as I can remember. Jamie Rogers is a regular participant of our monthly virtual run #OneBigFatRun and a wonderful ambassador for plus size fitness…and she comes from New Hampshire in the USA…featuring our international members always make me super excited.

When did you start running and why?  I started running around Sept, 2012.  I had  always wanted to be a runner but had never been athletic.  I made the decision I wanted to be healthier (and lose weight).  I signed up for a 5K and started the C25K program.

Did you run a lot when you were younger?  I did not.  I never played sports with school.

What do you love and hate about the sport of running?  Running is hard!  It takes a lot of determination for me to find the time, gear up and run.  What I love is how I feel when I go a little faster, a little longer, or just feel stronger.  Not every run feels worth it at that moment.  Sometimes I have to push through it and wait for the payoff.

How often do you run?  It varies based on why I am training.  Now that I am participating in the Too Fat To Run Scream if you want to go Faster programme, which means I am running 3 times a week.  This past summer, I was training to climb Mt. Washington so I focused on hiking more and tried to run once per week.  I find having an event to train for keeps me focused.  No matter what I am working towards, running  is part of the training.

What kind of distances do you run in training?  I tend to stay around the 3 miles mark.

We know you have taken part in a Half Marathon, could you tell us about your experiences with training, motivation etc.  I ran a half marathon May 2015.  I know I am not a fast runner.  Rather than focusing on speed, I decided to focus on distance.  I spent a lot of time researching races.  I finally signed up for a race 8 hours away because it was a Biggest Loser Race.  I felt I wouldn’t stand out in the crowd and I wouldn’t know anyone.  I knew I would be walking some and there would be other racers walking the whole race.  I chose a race where walkers and runners started at the same time to decrease my chances of coming in last.  I spent many hours on my treadmill over the winter sometimes as long as 4 hours.  It was a huge accomplishment for me to cross that finish line.  I was physically and emotionally drained.  And I was proud.  Proud that I was able to start, proud to push past the fear, push through the pain and proud I was able to finish!

Have you had any negative experiences whilst out running?  I have not had any negative experiences.  I have found the running community to be the most supportive and positive group of people.  I do struggle running in public.  I still don’t feel confident running when people might be watching.  I know I am a slow runner (many people can walk faster than I run).  I don’t feel strong in public.  While I have received many compliments with my improvements…I can’t get out of my own head.

What are your biggest fears about being a plus sized runner?  Running in public!  I’m also concerned about injuries.  I have been told a few times running at my weight is dangerous for knees, ankles, joints etc.  I want to train hard but don’t want to get an injury that stops my activity.  I know running has actually improved my bones and joints, my heart and my lungs.

What is your ultimate running goal and whats stopping you from getting there?  Early out, I would have said to run and feel comfortable (for it to feel easy).  I am not sure that it will ever be easy.  I think I will always want to be faster, to go further, to feel stronger.  I need to be happy where I am and appreciate how far I have come in my journey.

What’s more important to you and why? Frequency, running or distance of running?  I think running more frequently feels better for me.  I feel healthier and stronger when I run more frequently.  I also tend to eat better.  Eating better means better fuel for the body!

What could the government, local authorities, sports clubs etc do to encourage more people to take up running and sport, especially overweight and inactive women?  I think we (overweight women) are what needs to change.  We need to be more involved with what is out there.  If there were more of “us” out there in the public, maybe more of “us” wouldn’t be so afraid of getting out there too. YES I AGREE, this is a really proactive approach

What are the biggest barriers for plus sized women?  I think we are our biggest barriers.  I know I over-think things.  We just need to get out there and enjoy what our bodies can do.  Run like no one is watching!

What would you say to other runners just starting out?  Keep going!  Don’t stop!  Some runs are harder than others.  It’s all worth it!  Don’t hide in the shadows.  Participate in running events.  People are noticing us because they are inspired…not judging.  And there is nothing so great as crossing a finish line!

What have you learned about yourself through running?  I can cross the “finish line”.  I have started and not finished so many times(especially with weight loss).  Running has allowed me to push myself and to accomplish what I once thought was impossible(for me).  I really like the quote:  My race, my pace.  It reminds me I am doing this for me.  It doesn’t matter how long it takes, it matters that I am still doing it!

How has being a member of the Clubhouse helped you in any way, if so how?  Support and being part of a community is so important.  Surrounding ourselves with people on similar journeys can remind us we are not alone.

Why not join Jaime in The Clubhouse for just £59 for the year, thats about the price of a coffee and a cake each month. You can find out more here

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