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5 Plus Size Athletes That Will Continue to Inspire You in 2020

5 Plus Size Athletes That Will Continue to Inspire You in 2020

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Plus size athletes exist and they continue to be front and center, proving that you can be active at any size.

These plus size athletes are unsung heroes in a world where many diagnose someone’s health simply by looking at their body size. Seeing them run, climb, swim and do so many incredible things in larger bodies is inspiring and changing the narrative on how those bodies are viewed.

Opening photo, Tommy Corey

They’re breaking stereotypes and empowering others to get active. They’re pushing the message that our bodies can do incredible things, even when it’s larger than what is perceived to be “healthy”. 

Here are 5 plus size athletes that are on our radar and we’re ready to see what they accomplish this year:

#1: Martinus Evans @300poundsandrunning

Evans started his running journey when he began experiencing leg pain and was told by his doctor that he was too fat and needed to start walking. His response to that was to run a marathon. Seven years later, Evans has run several marathons including most recently the New York City Marathon and turned his active life into an apparel and accessories brand celebrating slow runners with messages such as “Slow AF” and “Excuses Don’t Run Miles”, in up to sizes 6XL. 

Evans believes it’s not about how fast you run but that you start running.

He started his Slow AF Running Club for those runners needing support and training in an environment that truly embraces the belief that “all paces are welcome”. He also runs a podcast titled “The Long Run” with fellow plus size runner and athlete Latoya Shauntay Snell, who we’ve featured on this blog before here

He’s been featured in major media outlets such as Shape, Self, Livestrong and Runner’s World. Ragen Chastain calls Evans a “champion of slow runners” in her recent piece for U.S. News & World Report and we wholeheartedly agree. We can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store for Evans!

#2: Jenny Bruso  @unlikelyhikers

Bruso started Unlikely Hikers to give representation to ALL people who consider themselves “outdoorsy”. The diverse and inclusive Instagram community features the underrepresented outdoors person.

As she states on her website:

“The name itself is ironic, tongue-in-cheek, reclamatory. There is nothing unlikely about wanting to hike or be in nature. The name is not literal or meant to reinforce exclusion. No one is getting a handwritten invitation to our National Parks and trailheads, but exclusion isn’t always verbal. A lot of the time, it’s about representation. Representation matters! Who is being targeted for outdoor recreation? Who has a seemingly natural sense of access?”

Monthly, the UH community offers offline group hikes in the Portland (PDX) area and nationwide, where hiking is done slowly–”No hiker left behind!”. 

Bruso’s call on Instagram when she started Unlikely Hikers speaks volume to the impact she has had in the world by simply embracing ALL on this incredible journey and inviting them into a safe, non-judgment place:

 “Despite how it may look in the commercials, magazines and other online nature communities, nature doesn’t care about your size, gender, race, ability, gear.” Amen!

#3: Ashley Manning  @ashleysadventure

Manning, a self-proclaimed Plus Size Outdoorswoman, is simply incredible. Just check out her Instagram where you will see images of her white-water rafting, hiking, climbing and just enjoying the outdoors. She aims to show the world that people of all sizes can be outdoorsy and active. That includes her completing more than 1,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail. YES!

She’s also a writer, sharing her experiences via The Trek and leads rafting trips that are open to ALL and are body positivity based. Her next white-water rafting trip is this June where Bruso from Unlikely Hikers will also be attending. It will be taking place at the Yampa Canyon on the Yampa River in CO to Green River, UT. You can find out more information here.

#4: Hector Espinal  @hecisdead

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SHOW TIME. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Today’s race was personal. In 2018 I decided to stop training for the Chicago Marathon to focus on my family. I was given an ultimatum and I know I made the right choice. When training started this year I knew I had work to do and I got to it. Today was not easy but letting the most important people in my life down would’ve been harder. My goal today was to FINISH but I ended with a 12 minute PB. If you know me you know time is not my priority but here we are. Where do I go from here? But like my brother @notafraid2fail notafraid always says “WHEN THE LIGHTS ARE ON, IT’S TIME TO PERFORM. “ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Thank you @crisalymoya for always holding me down. For not giving me slack when I’m away from home running, When you rather have me home but I’m away from the city. For being my support system. For always picking me up when I’m down. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Thank you @Nikerunning @Nikenyc for getting me ready for this. @steve__finley @jeslynnyc without Moonshot I would not be here. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Thank you to my @Wrucrew family. You guys make this all worth while. The stress, the headaches, the victories, the blessings. With out you guys @flicksnkicks and I wouldn’t have made it this far. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Photocred: @fredgoris #MarathonHEC #Werunuptown #Wrucrew #Nikerunning #PROJECTMOONSHOT #NIKENYC #NIKECHICAGO #PANSABOYZ

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This Latinx marathoner just got back from a trip to China, courtesy of Nike’s Run Club. Not bad for a guy who proudly told Nike, “I’m probably the slowest person in the running community in NYC, but I really don’t give a &#@k about that.”

In 2014, Espinal started the WRU Crew, which stands for We Run Uptown, and hasn’t looked back since. The crew was created after Espinal put a call out on Facebook for people to join him in running – telling them to meet him at 168th and Broadway, in the Washington Heights section of New York City. Almost six years later, the crew still meets every Monday at 7pm to run through the neighborhood.

He has now built a strong community and it has empowered him to run marathons and expand on his brand. He now co-owns the streetwear brand Never Not Bootleggin’, which merges running and culture in its aesthetic. He also co-owns AFTER:MILES, a company that offers “recovery” parties at lounges after runs, powered by Adidas. These lounge parties offer free drinks, food, and medal engraving, as well as a way to unwind and have some run among other runners. 

Espinal’s mission of promoting activity with a fun inclusive community aspect has created a unique brand that simply tells the world that “all are welcome”.

#5: Júlia Del Bianco  @judelbi

Principal ballerina and dance teacher Júlia Del Bianco truly defies stereotypes. Typically, ballet dancers are thin and lithe. And plus size bodies are not always looked as graceful. But Del Bianco shows that plus size ballerinas do exist and yes, they are graceful.

She is also the founder of Dance For Plus, the first traveling plus size friendly dance school, which encourages aspiring ballerinas of all sizes to train and pursue dancing. 

Del Bianco uses her platform to push for more respect for all bodies and for everyone to just live fully NOW. The Brazilian ballerina continues to awe us and we can’t wait to see where her career takes her this year.

Who are some of your favorite plus size athletes? Follow us on social media and let’s chat: @plusmodelmagFacebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter

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