too fat to run will close for good next month

It is with much sadness that I am to announce that the Fat Girls Guide to Running Blog will close on the 1st May.

This will include the Too Fat to Run Facebook Group, clothing brand, and campaigning work.

And here is why…

My driving value in life is that of fairness.

It always has been.

When I set up The Fat Girls guide to Running in 2010 after coming last in a race and finding the finish line packed up and everyone having already gone home for the day, despite being embarressed about my speed (1.18 for a 10K in case you were wondering) I mostly felt upset that the event had not been inclusive, and I was sure if this was happening to me it was happening to others.

It was.

At the time I was in my late twenties and had a senior management job working in local government on The Olympics. Part of my role was inspiring local people to get involved in the games as volunteers, but also to spread the benefits of the games such as increasing activity levels and access to sport.

My blog was never supposed to be a business, nor did I ever want to become a campaigner, but that happened as more and more women started reaching out to me telling me how much my blog posts helped them not feel so alone. 

In 2012 I was made redundant from my job on the games (6 months pregnant I might add), in 2013 I made the decision to turn the blog into a business, or at least give it a go. I spent countless nights working while Rose was asleep, learning the ropes of running a merchandise company, packing tshirts and hoodies from my front room, battling my ADHD brain to get the orders right.

I overcome my nerves of public speaking, and I started getting speaking gigs and media apperances, This Morning, The Alan Titchmarsh Show, even The Today Show in America…it was wild journey into the public eye.

And the books….

Writing had always been my passion. I had announced aged 11 that I wanted to be a writer, and the blog helped me hone my craft and gave me the confidence to self publish my first book “From slouch to 10K” and then later my best selling book “The Fat Girls Guide to Marathon Running” which really put me on the map.

Brands started showing an interest, women would start coming up to me for selfies at races, my confidence as a runner AND as a business owner grew. The business was a wonderful focal point for me, when I became a single parent, but was also a great worry financially, as people don’t always want to pay for running stuff.

I started running online programmes around 2014, those coaching and motivation programmes would go on to be purchased by more than 10,000 women (I lose count), and I have spoken to thousands of sports students about inclusive sport, and hundreds of sports leaders, and anyone who would listen about the fact that sport doesn’t just have to be about weightloss.

There was probably a moment in around 2016 when I needed to expand, to hire a team, to get investment, but I had a small child to look after, and was busy training for races, and fielding the hundreds of email enquiries I’d get daily, often from sports and other brands wanting to get in front of my audience, which was now reaching the 50K mark.

I once got sent a case of a well known brand of Soup through the post, and one company sent me a £300 sports watch with instructions of what to write in the blog post (which I hadn’t agreed to), they then got the hump and insisted I send it back at my cost.

It has been an absolute roller coaster.

The Mile 10 cheer stations at the London Marathons, the trip to EuroDisney with 20 women all in fancy dress to run their series of races, the wellness retreats in Greece I organised, the run clinics in the Olympic Park, the race meet ups, and who can forget our recent trip to Sierra Leone to run the worlds craziest marathon.

So why close it now?

I am tired. I am tired of fighting for this work to be seen, to be appreciated. I am tired of motivating myself to train for races, and thinking of new ways to talk about the sport. I am tired of doing it all by myself.

When the pandemic hit I felt a duty to keep things going. I was terrified. I was having panic attacks at the supermarket, and my connection to the women in my community was a lifeline. I launched a FREE programme of activities called Thrive Inside, nothing in comparison to Joe Wicks daily PE lessons…but my stuff was bespoke to my audience and it still makes me cry remembering our 3pm daily dance breaks, and our laughter yoga session, and our session on managing grief. 

The company as a business never recovered from the pandemic.

I am still paying off the bounceback loan that I got to try and keep it afloat. The truth is my audience are full of women (not entirely but enough for it to matter) who were on the front line of the pademic, and now the cost of living crisis…nurses, teachers, carers.

My business model of low cost coaching sold to the masses just stopped getting the numbers needed to make them viable. We had 500+ women join our 5 weeks to 5k programme in January of 2020…this year our beginners programme had less than 30.

There is another side to this too.

I am very proud of the work that I have done in growing this business, this socially driven movement, without funding or much support from the industry (despite asking for it), and I know that the running world especially in the UK is different because of the early work I did on this 10 or so years ago…but this is not the only way I want to be remembered.

Prior to setting up TFTR I worked for 10 years as a community engagement strategist, trainer and consultant, working with major cultural organisations such as The Royal Opera House, and Sport England. I managed multimillion pound projects to get young people more engaged, and I worked with politicians and architects on the legacy of the built environment connected to the London 2012.

In the past 4 years my work has expanded into life and business coaching, and I have supported more than 3000 business owners to start or scale their ventures.

Supporting plus size women to run is NOT the only thing I have ever done…and so often at events people say, “Oh your Julie Creffield, the women who does that fat woman running thing aren’t you?”

I want to be able to move on to other things.

I want to be able to scale other businesses that I care about, and position myself better as a speaker. I want to write other books…not about health and fitness, and I don’t “just” want to work with women. 

Inspiration doesn’t pay the bills. I can’t pay the mortgage in protein shakes and sports bras.

And so I am calling it a day. I am passing on the baton, to whomever else wants to carry on this important work.

The running world is better, but it is still not where it could be.

I still get invited to press launches of sports brands that don’t go up to my size, I did a 4 hour round trip yesterday at my own expense to attend such a thing…and all I got from the PR people there was “Yeah maybe in the future we will look to expand the range”

I once took the advice from a fellow business owner who had managed to scale a health project for overweight men with much funding and support, and he said,

“Julie, don’t be a crusader for too long…remember the crusaders all died”

I don’t mind fighting for things, but I don’t want to do that alone anymore, I don’t want to do that at the expense of my health and happiness.

Do I still believe in the power of community to enable change? 100%

Will I forever be an advocate for sport and health at every size…you bet.

I will continue to run, to hike, to swim, to cycle, to do crossfit…and I may even continue to share my experiences about it, just not via a blog and not while managing a community.

My work now will focus on my new venture The Year to Change which I launched last month.

It feels like I am starting over, but I know I am not, I learned so much and I know I have so much support.

Sometimes you have to say goodbye to stuff, to make room for new amazing things to happen, and this is one of those moments. 

Throughout this month on social media I will be reminiscing about the past decade, and I hope you will celebrate with me.

In April we will have our cheer station at the London Marathon (come join us??)

I will keep the blogs up as an archive…and my books will still be available (although I might phase some of them out)

I hate endings, I find them so uncomfortable…and it would have been very easy for me to have just slid away quietly, but that would not have been right. 

I loved doing this work

I loved that we were pioneers back in the early days

I loved that we had fun doing it

I will forever be grateful that on that cold Sunday afternoon after getting over my shame and embarrassment I googled “How to set up a blog” and had the courage to call it The Fat Girls Guide to Running

Love Always


If you would like to support my new Year to Change work, there are currently 3 different ways

  1. Grab my Start to Change Toolkit
  2. Register for the May cohort of The Year to Change Your Life
  3. If you are a recent start up or are thinking about setting up a business, why not check out The Year to Start Your Business

I am also looking for organisations and companies to discuss potential collaborations with in terms of inspiring their workforces to make the BIG changes in life that inspire health and happiness. 

All enquiries to


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