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Now I love what I do, and I love meeting the women who are part of our community, but sometimes  I meet someone really, really special…and this months spotlight is on a lady just like this who I met for the first time back in May when she came on the first ever Too Fat to Run Retreat.

Lynsay Johnston is 34 from Caputh in Perthshire (I went and visited her last month to run the Women’s Running 10K in Glasgow and she took me to my first highland games ) not only is she lovely, she absolutely embodies what this movement is all about.

So tell us about how you started running?

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I started running at Julie’s retreat in Rhodes earlier this year. I started running because I wanted to make a change. I wanted to be healthier, happier and no longer be embarrassed when I got out of breath climbing the two flights of stairs at work.

Did you run a lot when you were younger?

Haha. Nope. I did love PE a school but I was never first at anything so just gave up trying in the end.

What do you love and hate about the sport of running?

I love the camaraderie of running which totally surprised me, I always considered running a solo sport but when you’re in a race people telling you to keep going or the marshals giving you a wee cheer. I love it. I also love the feeling of accomplishment *smugness* after I’ve been out for a run

I hate the first 10 minutes of running, I feel like I can’t breath, my feet hurt, I start to sweat, sometimes my skin becomes really itchy and sore. Hate it.

How often do you run?

2/3 times a week.

What kind of distances do you run in training?

Usually about 5km. Did do longer ones before my 10km but never done a training run longer than 8km.

Do you parkrun? image3

No. Parkrun scares me. Everyone looks uber competitive and I’m scared the tail runner will get bored of waiting for me! We need to work on this Lynsay!!!!

Have you had any negative experiences whilst out running?

You mean apart from running?! No thankfully, I live in a very rural area so I know most of the people I meet whilst running and those who I don’t know are usually congratulating me on running or telling me they wish they could run.  

What are your biggest fears about being a plus sized runner?

My biggest concern is injuring myself, I always think that little twinge in my knee is my body telling me to give up as my leg is about to fall of!  I’m a bit of a hypochondriac at the best of times and I don’t find running easy! I’ve not been running long enough to tell what is just a wee twinge and normal and what is actually serious and I should stop! Just to be on the safe side I usually stop!

What is your ultimate running goal and whats stopping you from getting there?

I’m not quite sure why but I really want to do a triathlon. I’m embarrassed to go to my local triathlon club because I’m fat ad I’m worried they’ll laugh at me but I know nothing about triathlons or transitions or even what type of bike I should buy.  There doesn’t seem to be a ‘beginners’ tri club…perhaps I should persuade Julie to start one!

What’s more important to you and why? Frequency, running or distance of running?

I think for me frequency is most important, sometimes just getting out the door is a challenge so trying to do it often is important to me. 

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

They could create spaces for overweight women to exercise in a supportive and friendly atmosphere. Women only classes or classes aimed at people who are overweight would be great! I would love to go to a class where I knew everyone was facing similar issues.

I also think for a lot of women childcare is an issue so subsidised crèches at running clubs or exercise classes might be a solution.

What are the biggest barriers for plus sized women?

The patriarchy with the the addition of the stigma of being fat which to most people equates to being lazy and stupid.

What would you say to other runners just starting out

Buy proper kit. You do run enough, the trainers are not too expensive and it will make a difference.

What have you learned about yourself through running?

That I’m stronger than I think I am.

How has being a member of the Clubhouse helped you in any way, if so how?image5

Yes! Being a member of The Clubhouse is amazing. The online group is the most supportive and honest bunch of people you can find. You can ask anything, you can say anything and there’s no judgement. People in The Clubhouse are inspiring and it’s so refreshing to know that other people face the same challenges.

Julie is great at setting different challenges and thinking up themes which make me consider things I’ve not thought about before.

I’ve also made some great friends on the retreat and in The Clubhouse who I’ve also met in real life…like Jo (pictured right) who I went on a fun retro make up tutorial event with recently.

Lynsay came to the retreat in May with a whole heap of worries and fears, and she left with a list of goals which she has been steadily ticking off in the months that have followed.

If you would like to join us next year and spend a week with a bunch of other women just like you, taking 7 days to really explore your attitudes to health and happiness, and to set some big fat stupid goals for the future. Check out dates and rates here.

Why not join Lynsay 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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