October 28, 2014
Each month I feature one of our runners, but this month we have a special treat in the form of 37 year old Joanne Oborn from Bromley, South London who I have had the pleasure of meeting twice now. I first met Joanne when she came along to one of my Fat Girl Run Clinics where I was taken with her sense of humour and determination to improve, she later took part in a photoshoot for our Too Fat to Run race vests where she turned up to the secret Docklands location after work despite the fact that East London’s only ever recorded monsoon was taking place. So Joanne, when did you start running and why? About 14 years ago when I decided I wanted to do the London Marathon, but after I completed it, I had a very long break from running until I was getting married in 2009. Like a few brides to be, I wanted to lose some weight so I started again and then stopped again when I was pregnant. 6 weeks after having my son, I started a beginners running class which aimed to get us running 5km in so many weeks – that was the boost I needed to get me started again and more importantly keep me on track! Did you run much when you were younger? Not as a sport in itself. I loved netball though when I was at school. What do you love and hate about the sport of running? I love that running helps me to channel my feelings – If I’ve had a bad day or feel wound up by something, I can take it out on the pavement! I also enjoy the sense of achievement after completing a run especially if I have ran a long way or hit a PB. The only thing I hate about running is the injuries that can come with it – but fortunately these have been few and far between How often do you run? I try to run between 2-3 times a week normally between 5 – 10km each time Do you parkrun? Yes – I love Parkrun. I go to the Bromley one. I really enjoy it. It’s a great way to kickstart my weekend. The Bromley event has grown tremendously in numbers since I first went in 2010. It is a run for all abilities – our one has a tail runner so even the slowest person isn’t left behind. Have you taken part in any races? I did the London Marathon in 2001 – and it took me all of 6hrs 45 minutes. I still am proud of completing it but I learnt a lot of lessons – e.g the importance of training properly and also to keep moving the days afterwards no matter how much you ache! I have done a few Flora Light & race for life 5km runs since then. This year has really taken off in my running and I have done two 10km runs with three more planned over the next three months. Have you had any negative experiences whilst out running? Only back when I was a school girl on sports day coming last in the 400m to hear some joker in the crowd shout ‘move your fat arse’! The route I run now seems quite popular with other runners so nothing quite so bad has ever happened to me since. What is your ultimate running goal and whats stopping you from getting there? I’d like to do a marathon again but complete under the 6 hour mark. The thought of the pain is preventing me from applying again. At the moment I am concentrating on my frequency and distance. I want to get out running ideally 4 times a week and I want to increase my distance in preparation for a half marathon in 2015…then who knows!! 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? The government keep banging on about an obesity crisis and this week have suggested offering a cash incentive for people to lose weight. However I don’t feel they are encouraging people to be more active. Running clubs could do more beginners courses like what I attended, publicise these more and make it clear they welcome people of all abilities. Promotion of websites such as the Fat Girls Guide to Running to encourage people as well. I imagine you have had a fair few people saying to you that your blogs/ website has given them the confidence to go out there and try running! (yep this is very true) What are the biggest barriers for plus sized women? Kit that fits is the biggest I guess! I want to wear the technical running tops & the flashy running leggings. I know the main brands make these up to the size I am in (a size 16) – but I find in shops that size 16 is often not in stock. That frustrates me. Wearing running clothes makes me feel like a runner and gives me that added confidence – I really feel the mainstream manufacturers are missing a trick. Their loss will hopefully be someone’s gain in the future… What would you say to other runners just starting out? Just keep going. There are days it feels like a struggle to put on those runners and get out the door but once you have done that run, you’ll be glad you did. And remember a ‘bad’ run is better than no run at all What have you learned about yourself through running? That I really hate hills! Has the Fat Girls Guide to Running helped you in any way, if so how? Yes – it has. The Run Clinic back in June was full of great advice for improving running. I still use the recovery, normal, power run technique to keep me running as oppose to simply stopping/ walking when it gets tough. I have also found the Bish Bash Bosh challenges have added another dimension to my training/ fitness and it is enabling me to increase my speed and distance covered. The Bish Bash Bosh challenges take place each and every month for followers of The Fat Girls Guide to Running (wherever you are in the world) and costs just £10 to take part. Joanne has taken part in the September and October challenge, and is coming back for more in November.