In 2017 I was lucky enough to be chosen as 1 of 10 runners to be part of ‘Team Brecon Carreg’, a brilliant campaign where for every mile we ran between May and November £1 would be donated to the Air Ambulance charity. I was still pretty new to running having only completed the Couch to 5k the previous year and so was astounded to be chosen. That’s the great thing about running though; all abilities are welcome! All ages, all body shapes, all speeds… everyone! The running community is so incredibly supportive and friendly that once you find them you’ll wonder how you ever managed to get through life without them! I sometimes wish I hadn’t waited till I was 34!
When I think back to what I put in my application to Brecon Carreg it makes me a bit emotional to realise now, 4 years later, how far I’ve come!
This is some of what I wrote;
“It’s strange to think that 18 months ago I couldn’t run for a bus let alone any sort of distance. I’ve never been all that keen on exercise, perhaps a mental hangover from all those gym lessons in school that I would have rather avoided! However, in January 2016 I started the couch to 5k programme by the NHS and followed and completed the 9-week plan – a shock to both myself and my family & friends. Now as I write this I can see a few finisher medals hanging up on my dressing table and guess what…? They are mine!! Medals for sport!! Me?! I fell in love with running. I found confidence in myself and my family are proud of me. I can comfortably run 10k and this year will run my first half! Whoever thought I would see that happen … certainly not me!”
Since sending that email in 2017, not only did I become part of Team Brecon Carreg and help to raise an amazing £5000, I’ve also run 10 half marathons; those few medals have risen to quite a collection! Being part of Team Brecon Carreg helped boost my confidence, my belief in myself and my ability to do amazing things and be part of something good!
In the years that have passed I have kept on running; this in itself is probably my biggest running achievement. It has not always been plain sailing; there been times I’ve loved it and times I can’t think of anything worse than going for a run. I have had good races and bad races and days I vow to myself that maybe I’ll never run again (A little dramatic I know). I’ll never be the fastest and I’ll never win a race, heck I’ve been dead last before but to me and many other runners it’s all about finish lines, not finish times!
When I found running, I found something that not only helped me physically but mentally too! It helps me cope with my anxiety and low moods which was very much needed 2 years ago when I lost my job!
For a long time after I was in a low place. I think that I’d been walking a fine line with depression for years, probably since having my daughters, and on more than one occasion in the past had found myself in the Dr’s office sobbing while completing the form to establish my level of depression (never quite depressed enough). Losing my job catapulted me over that fine line and into the abyss.
Yes, I know, it was just a job. I had a fabulous family and good friends around me. But it was more than that, I had lost my family’s security, my sense of worth and every single scrap of confidence that I had in myself. I’d been told I wasn’t good enough; my secret deep-down insecurity had become a reality; it was true after all. I wish it had not affected me so badly. I still do. I hate that I’ve wasted so much time and energy and so many tears on this but I guess it’s all just part of the process.
Despite getting a new job at a lovely company a few months later something was still missing. One evening sat at the kitchen table crying (I was still a bit teary at this stage) I said to my husband Chris, “I want to start an online thing for mums who run and call it ‘Badass Mother Runners’ because it makes me smile and sounds a bit sweary.” Maybe if I can remind other mums how amazing they are a little bit might rub off on me, and super supportive Chris (who’s always believed I’m not rubbish) told me to go for it!
And so… on October 28th, 2018 Badass Mother Runners (or BAMR as we call it) was born and in less than 2 years it has become so much more than I ever dreamed it could be…. What started as an Instagram page has grown to a social following of around 25k including a Facebook chat group that is the most supportive and friendly place you could hope for. We won Running Club of the Year 2020 in the Women’s Running Magazine awards and our ever-expanding merch range continues to win award after award. It has become a successful business that provides me with full-time employment.
The past 2 years have been amazing! Watching BAMR grow and seeing all our glorious runners find confidence and solidarity in each other. Women tell us they feel empowered wearing our kit and real friendships have been forged through the group.
I am excited to see what this year brings for BAMR. When races finally start back make sure you keep an eye out for those amazing women, proudly wearing their kit. To anyone thinking of starting their running journey, GO FOR IT… you never know where it could lead you and it might just change your life!
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