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How many times have you heard someone say “I thought running was supposed to be FREE?”

It is a phrase I hear all the time.

Running isn’t FREE, unless you run alone, never enter races, run with bare feet, in unsuitable clothes and let you bazzookas knock you out with every step.

Running stuff costs money,

  • Trainers
  • Sports Bra
  • Running Kit
  • Race Entry
  • Technology
  • Massage
  • Running Clubs
  • Magazines
  • Coaches

A report from Sports Marketing Inc explains that the UK’s running population has reached an impressive 10.5million runners…thats a huge market for brands to sell to.

It says that,

half of runners partake in competitive events at least once a year, with shorter distances up to 10km the most popular form of race.

While shorter distances remain more popular, longer distance running is also gaining participants in the UK. 800,000 runners, or 10% of the UK adult running population, competed in a marathon, half-marathon or triathlon in the last 12 months.

Apparently in 2015 British consumers spent £600 million on running footwear and apparel…so you can hardly call it a FREE sport.

Now why I am I writing about this issue?

Well, I started writing this blog in 2010 for no other purpose but to keep a record of my stop start training methods as I prepared for the London Marathon, detailing the trials and tribulations that plus size runners face.

I never in the early days considered making money from it…I had a job, like a proper well paid job…so why would I need to monetise the blog which I did for fun?

Of course it has actually evolved since then into a business, but it’s still not really about the money for me. But what is a business without money? A charity? A crusade?

Over the years I have faced quite a bit of criticism on social media from my very own followers, with comments like..

Why do you charge for running, it should be FREE

You have sold out…it’s all about making money now

£25 for a couch to 5K programme, I can buy an app for £1.99

Nobody makes a fuss about running shoes from the big brands costing over £150 do they? No they just chose cheaper versions…or run bare foot (erm no…that rarely happens does it?)

I used to get upset and question myself when I first saw these kind of comments and now I just think its part of running a business. Some will see your value, and some will not.

Some will be willing for change, be willing to pay for support to enable the change, and some will be stuck in a lack mindset unwilling to see the worth in things.

Thats OK too.

I provide a very specialist, tailored service that is designed for plus size women, helping them building confidence, skill and accountability as runners.

Yes, you could buy an C25K app and go it alone…some of you will do well, but many of you will give up and think that the problem is with you, not the app…but hey it was only £1.99 just add that to all the other money you have wasted on diet and fitness products…we’ve all been there right?

My programmes work. They empower. They celebrate. They support.

I am proud of the work I do in this industry. Granted I don’t make the money that Nike and Strava, and all the big brands do, but I run my business with integrity, with love and with core values that are about making this world better.

However…I also value ME too!!!

For the first 2 years of running my business I never paid myself properly, I took the bare minimum from my account and only when there were funds available, some months there was none…so I went without.

That couldn’t go on forever…no sir!!!

Things had to change. I had to change.

So, now I am much better at saying No!!!! to things that don’t create income for me, especially when the partnership drives income for the other brand involved.

I am also much better at stopping myself from giving FREE memberships and places on my programmes to women who say they can’t afford them. We have a scheme where you can donate to help women who seriously can’t afford our annual membership. But why should I give everything away that I have worked so hard for?

My products and programmes are so affordable already.

My books = £1.99-£8.99

Tshirts = From £15

5 Weeks to 5K = £25

Scream if you want to run faster = £39.99

Annual Membership of our Online Running Club = £59

So here’s the deal.

If some women don’t want to pay for my programmes that is fine, plenty do…we have 45 women starting a new cohort of 5 weeks to 5K next Monday, and have almost reached 300 members of The Clubhouse…and these women rave about what they get for the money.

Remember, you might see lots of things that seem FREE, parkrun, local running clubs, England Athletics new run together programmes…they might be free for you to partake, but are not FREE though….somewhere along the line someone is paying for it, either a brand sponsorship arrangement, thousands of volunteer hours or a massive government grant.

Plus, there are lots of examples in this world where there are FREE option and paid options for things. It comes down to choice right?

Tap water vs bottled water

Motorways vs Toll Roads

Free Newspapers vs Paid Ones

Freeview vs SKY

Working out alone in the park vs hiring a Personal Trainer

Its different strokes for different folks, do whatever works for you…but please stop attacking me with the

Running is supposed to be FREE…rubbish

If it is…then off you pop right now for a run and stop moaning to me…I have been blogging for 7 years sharing FREE content to help women across the globe and I will always do that…but I also have to keep a roof over my head, clothes on my back and food in my belly.

And I am OK with that!!!

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