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So the breaking news is that Too Fat to Run did not make the final 6 businesses in Richard Branson’s Voom competition. From 5000 “UK businesses we managed to get into the top 40, but did not progress from the semi finals to the finals, despite having a great set of competitive interviews on Thursday where the judges all complemented what the business had achieved so far.

I found out the disappointing news yesterday via email while attending an event called The London Impact Summit which was an event hosted by KPMG for start ups and businesses who are disrupting their field…I guess you’d say thats me!!

It was a great distraction being at that event, and it gave me plenty of time to put what I had achieved through Voom into context. When I started on the journey I would not have described myself as an entrepreneur as such, and despite believing in the business, I still had some doubts about how to grow it…NOT NOW!!!

13435584_10154258038720477_8970870320542209259_nIn preparation for Tuesdays interviews I created a comprehensive and compelling growth plan (as seen on the table in front of the middle judge) that laid out exactly what had been achieved over the last 3 years, and what the plans for scaling up are for the next 4…if it wasn’t for Voom its unlikely I would have found time to do such a detailed piece of work…and I was able to get a number of people who I respect to review the document to feedback on its viability.

So what next?

It would be easy for me to take my foot of the pedal and dwell on my shortcomings for not getting any further, I could also get frustrated at the time and resources that Voom took up (I hardly made any money in the last 2 months and spent loads on the campaign too) but I won’t because that won’t get me anywhere.

Instead I am going to build on the momentum of the competition and focus on what I do best which is motivating overweight women to change their lives through the power of sport….and the way I am going to do that (Drum Roll Please) is…

By hosting the biggest ever mass participation virtual 5K event specifically for plus size women, to take place on Sunday 31st July.

Icon 1One Big Fat Run has been going for 3 years now, its concept is simple…commit to talking part, try and get your friends and family involved, cover the 5k distance however you can, and then bragg about it on social media…no pressure to share your times, no “I’m too slow” or “but I can’t run the whole way” just a celebration of running and movement at whatever size you are.

More details will be coming out soon about how to register for the event…but in the meantime you could get yourself prepared by preordering a t-shirt, or making a donation to help cover some of the running costs.

I have such big plans for Too Fat to Run and I am of course a little sad not to present them to the big man himself (our time will come Richard), but I can’t let this set back stop me from my mission. The only thing holding me back at the moment is capacity…which is what I need investment for, and the crowdfunding campaign despite not reaching its target…it did show that even from within my networks there is the ability to raise that money to make things happen.

A few things you can do today, to help while we find the right investor

I have no regrets from entering Voom and learned so much. The business has never been in such a strong position to grow…I just need to make it happen, while not losing sight of why I am doing this in the first place.

This weekend I am off for my first long run in a while…because after all I am Julie Creffield, plus size athlete…and I must lead by example right?

ClEuCngWQAEmrN_Finally, I just want to say something about someone I met yesterday. During the lunch break at the conference I was at, I walked over to a friend of mine who was talking to some guy. I didn’t know who he was but she insisted we got a picture together.

Turns out he was none other than Sir Tom Hunter, serial entrepreneur and phrilampropist and key note speaker for the afternoon.

He was awesome, especially with his deep scottish accent reminding me of my Grandad (also named Tom) who is sadly no longer with us.

Tom (the businessman not my grandad the docker) was the son of a grocer who began his career by selling trainers from the back of a van. This led him to build up a chain of sports shops which he sold to JJB Sports in 1998, making over £250m. By 2006, the Sunday Times Rich List ranked the Ayrshire-born tycoon as the richest man in Scotland. He has given away millions of pounds to charities including Live 8 and the Make Poverty History campaign.

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He made many comments both at lunchtime when we chatted about being “weirdos” in our community and during his compelling keynote that really struck a chord with me, comments that confirmed my belief that I was born to do this work…even if people think I am strange…and even if my family are still thinking “when you gonna get a proper job”

He finished off his talk with the quote by Teddy Rosevelt

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

But can I just point out women stumble and pick themselves up too, not just men. so watch this space.

Have a great weekend x

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