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Sorry…I mean FUCK YOU!!!

Apologies for the profanities but there is no other way of expressing how angry I am right now.

While doing 400 meter repeats on a cold, dark and wet night last night at the end of a 6pm CrossFit session, a man exiting a silver van took it upon himself not only to critique my running but to offer unsolicited advice and then laugh at me, walking off shaking his head.

Well…do you know what FUCK YOU!!!

What he might not have realised while observing my fat body running slow, and way behind everyone else…is that I do not need his (or anyone elses) permission nor comments to validate my desire and right to run.

“Pick your feet up”

“You’re wasting you’re money”

“Come on…keep running”

His comments threw me though, especially the ones I could barely hear as he walked off down an alley way home for the night smug in his attempt at putting me in my place. The comments interrupted my session, they knocked my confidence and ultimately they made me cry in front of my two CrossFit coaches which made me feel like even more of an idiot.

I didn’t cry for long…and within minutes I was back out running those 400 meter repeats again….but this time annoyed at letting him get to me.

I am not new to inappropriate comments from complete strangers, and mostly I just brush them off knowing they are the ones with the problem not me, but for some reason last nights ones got to me.

Because…

Do you know how hard it is to go back to CrossFit after having a three week break because of flu?

Do you know how hard it is to train in the evening after a long day at work?

Do you know how hard it is to convince a 6 year old to come with you and hang out at the side of the box, so you can get your fitness requirements in for the week, with comments of “I’m tired, I’m hungry, I wanna go home” just adding to the mummy guilt?

And do you know how it feels to be consistently the fattest and slowest in a fitness group?

Yet despite all of this, you keep showing up because

A. You enjoy the sessions

B. They help with my overall health and happiness

Could I run faster some times?…maybe I could, but I know my body better than anyone else, and I know how my CrossFit sessions fit in with the rest of my marathon training.

Oh yeah…man in that van…do you know I am a 4 time marathon runner, that this fat body once ran 40 miles in 24 hours, that it has done triathlons, and tough mudders, and even climbed a couple of mountains.

No.

You just see a fat, slow, lazy woman who doesn’t look like she is trying.

I’m not sure that I just cried last night for me. Through my work I see this stuff happen EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

I could cry again typing this, this morning…I am sick of it.

Why can’t we just be left the hell alone to workout in peace? Keep your advice, suggestions, feedback, wise arse cracks, jokes, and comments of any kind to yourself. They are not asked for and they are not welcome.

2 million fewer women than men in the UK take part in sport because of the fear of judgement.

It is exhausting….not the sport, but the fucking judgement…and even just the fear of it.

I don’t blame women for thinking “I think I’ll pass”

Last year when we ran our pilot programme in Barking & Dagenham women spoke of their fear of having people laugh or shout rude things out at them but eventually they found relative safety in running off road at the local track. you see they would rather travel on a bus for half an hour there and back to run in circles, than face the possibility of being shamed on routes near their homes…oh and guess what? On occasion, they were shamed and commented upon by other male track users too.

Why the need to comment?

Just go about your business…there is nothing to see here.

I wish I had something witty to shout back in response to these comments, but I never do. I don’t want to have to go out armed and ready to spit something back at every arsehole who thinks he is funny.

I don’t want to have to watch out for groups of men in vans who think its a laugh to bib their horn, flash their lights, or worse still throw things at me. Yep, this happens.

I just want to be able to exercise in peace, without fear, without judgement.

So man in the van from last night, and ever other man in a van who has been a dick just like this…shame on you.

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