This week, the world got introduced to plus size runner Julie Creffield, a 36-year-old entrepreneur and mother from the UK, setting out on a quest to prove that being overweight doesn’t always equate being unhealthy. And her proof is already evident. She runs four times a week and has run in marathons including the 2012 London Marathon. Doctors told her she was too fat to run. Yet Julie decided she was not going to accept that and instead proved those doctors wrong.
In addition to the doctors, one negative comment from a young boy who shouted “Run Fatty Run” at her as she ran in a 3K run with co-workers, also made her more driven and determined to start training and prove that she didn’t have to be thin to be able to run. This was the start of something that turned into an inspiring story of one woman who signed up for the London Triathlon after that moment and has been running ever since.
She didn’t just stop there. She has now launched a website to inspire other women, no matter what their size, to start running. Julie’s mission is to promote a healthy lifestyle at any size. To her, it’s all about eating healthy and being active. Losing weight is not a goal for her. Being healthy is.
“Obesity is a huge concern around the world, but inactivity is the big killer of our time. Many people simply think that running is something that fat women can’t or shouldn’t do at all, including some medical professionals – I am on a mission to prove otherwise.”
Her website, The Fat Girls’ Guide to Running, advocates the Health at Every Size approach (HAES) and Julie hopes to change the perception of how people of size are viewed:
“Being overweight in this modern world is not an easy thing what with the media’s obsession with an unachievable idea of “The Perfect Body”, the pressure to be a certain size and to live a healthy lifestyle has never been stronger. But we all know that slim does not equal fit, and fat does not always equate to being unhealthy, or inactive, or lazy, or… all of those other negative connotations that it has acquired over the years. HAES isn’t suggesting that everyone of every size is always healthy – a popular misconception. Instead, it focuses on helping anyone interested in being as healthy as they can be in the body they have right now. Hand in hand with this, it challenges size stigma to advance equality.”
Her website started out as a blog and way for Julie to write about her running experiences and the comments she received as she ran. And then it took on a life of its own. Last month, she launched a clothing line with the Too Fat to Run slogan that is available up to size 24. The collection is available on her website. Julie’s future goal is to raise enough money to create stylish, sexy technical apparel for plus-sized runners.
Julie hopes to get 1 million plus size women running and be proud of what their bodies can accomplish with their new active lifestyle. Julie’s website is a great resource that even includes downloadable tools to help women on their active journey.
Julie is truly an inspiration to all of us at PMM and we will be following her to see what she does next.