Posts Tagged ‘#thisgirlcan’

Event Review: Bright10

October 23, 2016 at 4:12
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Wind and torrential rain greeted runners taking on the Bright10 this year. But it didn’t deter Laura Marshall who ran her first 10 mile race…

I am not  sure what persuaded me to enter the Bright10 mile race as previously, I had always set 10km as my upper distance saying I’d never run longer. A lot came down to the fact that it was not a half marathon (too big a leap from 10km in my mind), it was local which meant that I could walk to the event and the encouragement from the fellow Fitbitch community.

As the event neared and I was juggling commuting to London for work, setting up my own business and raising a toddler, I wondered how I was going to manage it. Then, the Fitbitch Learn to Run 10 miles course came along, that included trails, road, hilly and flat runs to help build mileage which also helped me keep to a plan and stay focused.

On the night before the race, I was feeling quite calm but then I awoke to the windows being thrashed with rain, and the wind whistling around the house. Not the weather conditions I really had in mind, cue the nerves. However, I stuck to my morning run plan; breakfast, running outfit,   foam rolling, and it totally helped me to calm down. And thankfully, by the time I arrived at the race start, the rain had stopped.


The wind had not alas, and the first two miles were hard as we ran into the wind and it gusted sideways. But then the wind dropped and the sun came out! I ran with a fellow runner which worked well as we both had someone to chat to, which was needed when supporters petered out passed Kemp Town just when you needed them on the climb up to Roedean. Having said, that the coaching tips  of “stand tall”, “shoulders back”, “small steps” and “use your arms” had been drummed into us and it helped me get up the hill.


At this point, I should say that it is an entirely road race and at times pretty unattractive if you looked the wrong way – coaches park one way but beautiful sea the other. But the marshals were great and cheering loudly as were the volunteers at the water stations (three in total).

As we headed west from Black Rock, I was familiar with the route and was counting down to the end. The crowds picked up again from the Pier to the finish, with one final double backing by Hove Lawns. “Sprint finish?” said Ness, my running partner. “SPRINT? I’ll go a bit faster,” was my response, although then I went a bit faster still when I saw familiar faces at the end.

It was a great race and I felt amazing to have achieved my ten mile race goal, even with poor weather. And the strangest thing is, that half marathon now doesn’t seem such a big leap!

If you wish to join our community in training for the Brighton or Worthing Half Marathon, our beginners training starts November 6th. Details here.

Race Goody Bag: Haul it or Hoard it?

Well, neither, as there wasn’t one. The medal is a beaut though and we were handed water at the end – I didn’t go for the sports drink on offer or the Clif Bar.

The Good

  • Even with the road closures, it was easy to get to and with the Race Village on Hove Lawns, nothing felt cramped.
  • Three water stations were ample.
  • I thought the double-backing would frustrate me but I enjoyed seeing familiar faces a couple of times.

The Bad

I am glad I didn’t need the toilet as those queues were huge even with a few minutes until the start time.

The Ugly

There was nothing ugly. The day before, someone did mention to me that they no longer to pay to run in their home town/city. I can see their point as a lot of this was very familiar to me but it was the mileage that was my goal.



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Running with your kids as featured in Women’s Running

February 14, 2015 at 11:17
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Always wanted to get your child involved in running but worried about the effect of training? Read the feature that Fitbitch founder and running coach, Rachael Woolston wrote for Women’s Running magazine 


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January 22, 2015 at 7:32
Posted by Rachael Woolston

If you haven’t seen Sport England’s campaign, This Girl Can, where have you been?! Now almost a week old, it is the comments on YouTube and national newspaper editorial that has been more revealing than anything else… 

Since we launched Fitbitch over five years ago, we have been championing women in sport, encouraging those who have come to us to get fit and to lose weight to focus on a goal, whether a 5km Parkrun, a triathlon, obstacle race or even a marathon.

Niney-five percent of those who start with us say; ‘Oh, I’m not one of those sporty women,’ or ‘I’ve always been rubbish at sport,’ I can’t run/bike,’ and variations on that theme. An equal number admit that one of the major draws of Fitbitch is the fact that it means they can exercise in the morning when no one can see them because they feel so self conscious.

Of course, this is not every woman’s experience. Me? I’ve never had a problem with playing sport, even going up against the opposite sex. Sweat, jiggle, grimace? I don’t care because I’m so used to playing sport it is as natural a part of my make-up as playing football is for many men.

But I am in a minority. And hopefully not for long.

Over two thirds of the women who start with us have gone on to ‘compete’ (sharp intake of breath, can we say that women like to compete?!) in a huge range of events and loved it.

So, we salute Sport England’s campaign for hopefully encouraging lots of more women to do the same. With their campaign, they have tapped into how most women in the UK feel when it comes to sport and exercise in general. To show them that women of all shapes and sizes can play sport and enjoy it, is inspiring. And sport truly does have the incredible ability to empower.

Yet, the extent to which there is a disconnect between this reality for women and men has been highlighted in the comments on the Youtube video right through to national newspaper editorial.

Two days ago, The Times columnist Kevin Maher had this to say.

‘The genuine ideological crisis at the heart of this campaign is the suggestion that sport will offer you a gateway out of yourself and transform you wholly as a person. This is simply not true. Sport is good, I play sport. But I am still me when I play it.’

This is because playing sport is a given for men. From the school playground, right the way through to adulthood, playing sport is just another form of socialising, like going to the pub. For the majority of men, they are so used to the transformative effect of sport and exercise they no longer even register it.

But for so many women, who may have stopped exercising, let alone playing any form of sport when they were girls, the power of sport to transform how they feel about their body, confidence, and self worth is huge.

Sport and exercise is truly liberating. And the fact that so many men can’t even understand the need for this campaign speaks volumes.


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