Pippa’s Story #quitthecatcall


As confident and badass as someone appears to be, more often than not, their experiences with harassment affect them. It’s not always visible, but it’s there.

Our actions and decisions are based on our experiences and, when it comes to harassment, we often base our actions off a fear for our safety.

Badass triathlete, business women, actor and very busy Pippa Moss kindly took the time to speak to me about this.

Pippa was also part of a photography campaign challenging stereotypes about Essex girls which I encourage you to check out!

Hi Pippa, so nice to catch up with you – sorry it’s not under better circumstances! Would you mind speaking a little bit about your running? When did you start?

Started running at secondary school – I wasn’t great but what I lacked in skill I made up for in enthusiasm and so became the reserve for both sprinting and long distance. I was in every sport team going so was pretty fit anyway. I was a pretty small teenager so I was quite nippy at basketball and hockey and all that.

After my Dad died (and during the many bereavements I’ve gone through) it became my way to ‘escape’ – if things were tough at home, I’d get changed and put my trainers on and just run. It became therapy whilst I learnt to figure out how to articulate my thoughts and feelings. 

I’ve since run a half marathon and did my first Olympic distance triathlon last year. The first of many I hope! I want to get better at endurance running and do the London Marathon.

London Marathon is probably one of my dream races too. Your triathlons are impressive! I imagine that means you’re out on the streets a lot training. Have there been incidents of street harassment in your life outside of training? What is your earliest memory if so?

Earliest memory is having my arse slapped when I was walking down Southend highstreet in Essex with my Mum. After that when I was on my first night out with my boyfriend I was pussy grabbed by a stranger. We got him kicked out but I didn’t drink or enjoy going out for a long time after that. I didn’t understand it. I also find it funny how I always feel the need to say I was with my boyfriend at the time. Regardless of being in a male presence, I don’t know how guys think this sort of behaviour is okay. 

Wow, I’m so sorry to hear that Pippa, it just goes to show that the normalisation of street harassment leads people to violent and physical altercations too. So, I imagine there have been many instances of you feeling unsafe on a run, then? What was the cause of these and what actions did you take in the moment, if so?

A lot of instances! There’s the usual, drive-by hooting and yelling at you – if it’s busy you feel safer but if there’s no one around it’s scary. I used to give them the finger or shout something back – but since I start self-defence (yes, I started learning self-defence) I learnt that you have to do everything in your power to avoid a confrontation. Now I just ignore it. I have plenty of other instances of being harrassed, however, where, if I felt safe enough, I would go up to the person committing the harassment and introduce myself and let them know, perfectly calmly, who I am and that I don’t appreciate it. I ask them for their name and tell them mine, offer my hand to shake and just get to know them a little. I feel like this makes them see I’m not just something you can shout a ‘compliment’ to. Fuck knows if it actually acheives anything.

Are then preventative measures you take to try and avoid feeling unsafe, then? I know I’ll often think twice about wearing shorts if the weather is nice (although it doesn’t often stop me).

Depending on the time of day I alter my route. Even though I prefer running in shorts I rarely do. I should wear what I want but I feel my past experience makes me conscious about it.

I know I also base my clothing choice on how busy it’ll be out, like rush hour, for example, I’ll avoid tight clothing. Is there a certain time of day or environments you avoid running in?

I prefer running in mornings and evenings – I used to run in the dark with lights because I felt more comfortable doing so, but as I’ve got older and experienced more crazy behaviour I tend not to do this so much.

I ask people whether or not their experiences with harassment affects their behaviour and habits running and, as you’ve mentioned, it makes you reconsider what you will wear, as opposed to what you want to wear. It seems that this has really impacted your freedom when running?

As mentioned in another question, yes. Sadly, the idea that what you’re wearing can be held against you should anything happen seems to be prevalent. I was a street performer for a while and being an actress I can hold my own, if I’m just living my days I tend to wear what I want. But I find in the gym community/running you sometimes get some ‘lads’ who feel like they have a right to ‘oggle’ at you. I’m just running/gymming to get to work. Not for attention.

Have you experienced any negative feedback from people close to your training and street harassment? A lot of women I’ve spoken to experience inadvertent victim blaming.

In a way. My Mum always says “be careful”. Like I’m just going to be completely reckless and irresponsible. It really pisses me off because women shouldn’t have to “be careful”. We should all, as a race, be respectful. Little girls shouldn’t have to “keep their wits about them” (another favourite catchphrase my family use), we should teach everyone on the planet to respect others from a young age, then we might not have this issue. It’s this subtle phrasing that reinforces the idea that women need to protect themselves, when in fact, we need to teach the perpetrators, not to attack in the first place. We need to nip the root cause in the bud.

Ahh, completely agree! Often these warnings come with the best intentions but it really does put the emphasis on us having to mind our safety, rather than just being able to exist safely. Is there any particular event in which you find there’s an influx of harassment? Lockdown has been particularly bad for me.

To be honest, not particularly. It’s pretty consistent regardless of the social climate.

I can’t really work out if the consistency is a good or bad thing! Sorry you have to deal with it so often though. What would you like to see being done about this? What kind of actions do you think need to be taken?

If that when we reported this sort of behaviour something was actually done about it. I would like us to acknowledge talking to and shouting at and sometimes touching women you don’t know/hardly know in public and privately is a massive problem. #MeToo has helped this in not just the creative workplace, but all. Still I feel a lot of harassment reports are swept under the rug for not being a serious offence. Just a few months ago before lockdown I had a group of lads inform me one of them was a rapist and start vocally harassing women on the tube. I reported it and absolutely nothing was done about it. 

Thanks Pippa, that last encounter you mentioned is absolutely out of order.

it’s evident that there’s a data gap in the UK regarding street harassment. Even though it isn’t currently a criminal offence if you see or experience and incident please report the time, date, location and something to identify the perpetrator by (like a number plate). The more we report the more evidence we have to stand on when we take this fight to MPs.

Liv’s Story #quitthecatcall


What with the past few weeks unseasonal summer like weather, I think, safe to say, we’ve all bee relishing in wearing a little lighter and less when we’re running.

And we bloody deserve it!

It’s hot and sweat so shorts are comfortable!

Unfortunately, as you’ll read in the following interview with Liv (@livforrunning), this has lead to a lot of us noticing a peak in cat-calls and street harassment.

It seems that, as much as we hate to admit it, people still think it’s ok to body shame and sexualise women based on their outfit.

Liv goes into this with me in the latest in the #quitthecatcall interview.

Hey Liv, thanks so much for speaking with me. Can I ask how you first started running?
My mam inspired me to start running, she was a super hero that wore foil capes and ran the Great North Run. I remember her giving me her first Great North Run medal to hold and to me it felt as special as an Olympic gold. I started around age 14, completed my first half at 18.

Wow, superhero mum – how awesome to have her as a running inspiration! Let’s talk about your earliest experiences of street harassment. Do you remember them?
I don’t think I remember a time when I haven’t been beeped at, regardless of whether I’m running or not. I have distinct memories of feeling uncomfortable due to this from around 13/14. I remember my Dad saying to me as a child, if you feel uncomfortable start walking against the traffic and it’s something I’ve had to use. As a teenager I was harassed, whether it be hand gestures in a car window, wolf whistles walking back and very uncomfortable staring. I’ve been followed slowly in a car more times than I can count. Sometimes the comments are vulgar, and sometimes they are just commenting negatively about what I’m wearing or the worst, my body. As someone who has suffered from an eating disorder, those incidences were the worst for me. I was once moved to tears trying to reverse off a drive that was difficult after I’d just passed my test because a group of workers shouted ‘Of course there’s no way you’d be able to reverse your car, with legs like those’ – which happen to be my biggest insecurity.

Harassment is bad enough in itself, without it highlighting our insecurities. I’m so sorry you experienced that. That sounds especially intimating, considering the circumstances. Have there been many other instances of you feeling unsafe when running?
I think generally as a woman, if I’m running alone, I feel unsafe on a run. It has probably been caused by the countless bad experiences I have had. If in doubt, I get at least 1 beep on a run. At 15, a cyclist passed me as I was running once, at the traffic lights near my house, and hit me across my bum. I was too young to know what to do and he was gone. I didn’t tell my family. Another time I had a van follow me on a road on the way to my university, he slowed down to my running pace and just drove at that pace just behind me. I was on the pavement, there was no need for him to slow down and when I turned, he was mouthing things and laughing and taking photos. I turned and ran in the opposite direction. Another distinct memory is a Dad, roll down his window and say vulgar things at me, in-front of his son, probably under 10. This was at 5pm.
How could anyone possibly expect me to feel safe running alone when here are only three of the many, many, many incidences?

Wow,, Liv, that’s definitely intense. It’s heartbreaking that you’re able to pinpoint such horrific incidents as being just a few of many. Because of this, do you take any precautions when preparing to run?
If I’m at university, I tell my housemates how long I would expect to be out, give or take twenty minutes or so in case I feel the need to run more miles (very unlikely that this happens). If I’m at home, my parents know all of my routes and I tell them where I’m going. My mam roughly knows how long I should be. I always always carry my phone even if I’m not listening to music. My phone has a tracking app on it which my parents can track.
If I feel unsafe for some reason, for example, someone behind me or someone has just beeped at me near my home, I will keep running as I don’t want them to see where I live. I lived alone for a year and never left my house at the same time, as I was worried about someone working it out and following me home.

The fact that you have to worry about your home privacy is a very sad, but also very real, fact of life these days. I would also recommend to anyone using Strava to consider adding a “privacy zone” to any locations you want to keep safe – it hides any activity start/ end location so people cannot track your home or work environments, for example.

Is there a certain time of day or any type of environment you avoid running in?
Prior to lockdown I would have avoided running in countryside or woods alone and would have stuck to housing areas or parks that have a lot of people in them. However, due to lockdown I’ve been running country roads due to the government insisting we don’t drive somewhere too run (totally fair, I’m happy they are dealing with this situation sensibly). I’ve felt ok because the roads have been quiet, but I’ve still had some harassment.
In the village by my university campus I avoid running at 5-6pm because we live close to the M1 and around this time commuters pass through. Street harassment was always the worst at this time, and if I happened to want to run around then I would go with a friend or just have my music really loud so I couldn’t hear them.

That sounds like a pretty common occurrence, unfortunately. Perhaps the business and anonymity of rush hour leads to people being more abusive and reckless due to the fact they can hide in a crowd of traffic. How have you found street harassment have affected how you behave in and out of running?
Previous to the past couple of weeks I don’t wear shorts running, a combination of insecurities but also extreme worries people will comment on my legs again (and they have previously in shorts…). I hate the culture that surrounds women, where if we are wearing less than what is perceived as a societal norm then we are ‘asking for it’ however I do seem to get more comments etc if I am running in a sports bra/shorts. I’m a girl who’s been running for years – I am very efficient at sweating and sometimes it would be great to just go out in a pair of shorts. I’ve been trying to build up my confidence regarding this throughout lockdown as there’s less people around.

I guess that’s one positive to come out of lockdown, at least! I’m with you on the c,othing issue though – I’ve noticed a lot more ‘attention’ in the warmer weather now I’m wearing shorts. We should absolutely have the freedom to wear the clothes that we can feel comfortable in, without fear of abuse. Have you noticed any any negative feedback from those close to you regarding this, and outdoor exercise?
Direct quotes – ‘That’s just running, you just have to get used to it’, ‘If you get angry you’re just as bad as them, just ignore it’, ‘You’re lucky, I don’t get that anymore because I’m too old’, ‘That’s just the risk you take running’.

So, I’ve noticed harassment get worse in fairer weather, is there any other environment you’ve noticed and influx of harassment in?
I often find it’s worse when there’s a sports event and the pubs are more full than usual. I have found that I didn’t expect it to happen as often during lockdown as it is, which sucks if people still feel the need to do this when the country is literally in a pandemic.

Agreed. What change would you like to see around this? Is there anything you’d like people to know?
I would like it to be known how unsafe women feel in general. I think sometimes, in general, and I hate generalising, men don’t realise how often women feel unsafe and in simple daily scenarios that they wouldn’t feel unsafe, we do.

I would like it to be illegal, ideally, to harass people when they are running

I would like it to be known that it’s not just men that harass women, men harass men, women harass men and men harass women too.

I would like there to be an easier way of reporting harassment, I think it’s difficult to report if you don’t know the name of the person or you don’t catch the number plate.

I would like the community to be supportive online regarding this situation.

But mostly I would like it to never happen and for people to stop doing this, but this is the ideal scenario and I don’t know if it would ever happen.

I would like to feel safe running.

Yes, to all of that! Thanks so much, Liv. This has been really insightful. Any last words of wisdom or support for us?
Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies) is an amazing book and podcast which I’ve used as one of the platforms to teach myself about misogyny and the patriarchy. It strives for equality for all genders. Give it a listen. Also Jameela Jamil is amazing and anything she writes is incredible, her podcast, i-weigh, is really great too. I find engrossing myself in feminist literature and podcasts really helps me to channel my anger towards something positive when this happens.

I agree, feminism is about empowerment and equality for all – feminist literature certainly puts my jumbled thoughts into order when things all get a bit too much. Thanks again Liv, keep running!

Go check out Liv’s blog Liv For Running to read about her racing and travels!

A Marathon of the Mind


I’m ashamed to say I’ve never run a marathon.

Everyone and their mothers seem to have ticked 26.2 off their bucket list.

Especially in the social media running community.

There was a time when hitting that kind of distance was for elites only. It was an Olympic event, impressive to the regular hobbyist jogger, seemingly impossible to muggles and, quite frankly, an inappropriate time to spend running if you’re not being paid for it.

Hell, up until the 1967 society told us women’s bodies weren’t designed cope with that kind of athletic stress and there were rules banning us from running them.

But the human body is resilient.

And in the 21st century, the boom of regular, run of the mill, marathoners is sky rocketing.

So, why?

Are we all so bored by our 9-5s that we need to exert ourselves for hours to thrive.

To get that caveman rush of adrenaline?

Deep down, are we just monkeys in Nikes? In need of that sweet, sticky rush of endorphins distance running brings to us.

It makes sense, why we’re still seeking that primal urge to run. It’s in our base DNA. At our peak and over distance, human beings can out-run nearly every animal on the planet. It’s what we’re born for. It’s what we do.

So, yeah, we’re apes. In need of a drug. Of that jolt back into nature.

And, for some reason, we’ve decided that toeing the start of mass participation events is the key to this. It doesn’t hold quite the same poetry as our ancestors dashing across the savannah but, it’ll scratch the itch.

That itch has been bugging me for years.

For the last six of those years I’ve half heartedly signed up for the London Marathon, which has satisfied the craving momentarily, only to be rejected in the ballot, for that itch to move further down my back, out of reach, but still persistent.

I’ve always wanted to have more of a “fuck it” attitude.

I envy spontaneity and, ashamedly, I’ve worked my way out of many opportunities because I’ve been too scared, lack confidence and, though it pains me to admit, have hands down been plain lazy.

Recent events have evoked change in me, though.

We’re all in the same boat,

We’ve all spent hours, lately, day-dreaming about the first thing we’ll do “when we’re out”. Lockdown is a virus induced prison and our release date is, yet, undetermined.

Maybe we’ll get put on bail if we’re all really good and do what we’re told…

I’m no longer scared of fear. I want to embrace uncertainty. I’ve realised my appreciation for what life was before. For freedom. For being unsure.

And, as they say, there’s no time like the present.

That was the motivation for Monday’s marathon.

I say marathon – I ran 26.2 miles. And I’d be a fraud for counting that as a true marathon. I couldn’t currently fathom the endurance of having to keep focussed on that distance all at once. To try and keep my mind and legs in a perfect painful tandem. One day I will conquer it. One day I will feel that sickly, dizzy finish line joy. Until then – multistage feats will have to satisfy.

That’s not to say those miles were easy. My state approved exercise token only covered me for 10 glorious, outdoor, spring miles before it started to feel like I was taking the mick.

The day began like this:

0700: Unceremoniously thrown awake by my alarm. I did not sleep enough for this.


0709: Abrupt alarm once more. Scratching around in the depths of my being for enthusiasm.


0718: Ok, ok, I get it.

Alarm off. Caffeine.

I shamefully scrabbled for excuses not to start for an hour – The treadmill will wake the neighbours (it might). My housemates might hear (they can’t). I should do some dynamic stretching first (I didn’t). I should eat a bagel (I did).

My reluctance to beginning the run wasn’t from lack of enthusiasm. It was because I had and long, arduous, 25 kilometres on the treadmill planned.

There’s a reason they call it the dreadmill.

Nothing about me looked forward to those starting miles.

The first run scheduled would be my longest indoor stretch. A dull, barely conscious 10k to start off the day.

My legs wouldn’t listen. My feet were barely lifting off the floor. And my head, well, quite frankly, my head was anywhere but the treadmill.

Mile one. Trudge.

Mile two. Trudge trudge.

Three, four, five, mile six was the hardest. Knowing I was staring down the barrel of another 20. Well, damn. Why on earth have I chosen to do this alone?

There’s a lot to be said for crowd support. I never realised how it has carried me through the numerous events I’ve raced. The pain is still there, the battle between your head and your legs, then your legs and head. But at least you get the contagion of cheers to keep you keen.

But not for me. Not today. Today was a battle between me and my tired, anxiety riddled brain. Today was about me proving to me whether or not I had the grit to do this alone. To set a goal and stick to it.

But the morning had definitely began with my brain beating my, lack of, brawn –

“Stop, keep going, stop in a mile, no – keep going”

And this was only kilometre ten. Jesus. I’d better buck up my ideas soon on this solo slog is going to defeat me.

Luckily for me, my past self had scheduled in regular pep talk pit stops – Bagel break #2. My race fuel of choice. A soft, bready delight. A carby ring of hope prior to the many hours of running ahead.

After this, stage 2, was an easy treadmill 5k. Good. Thirty minutes. I can do that. Tiger King and Corona memes were my distraction. The support signs and aid stations of this multistage Monday.

I also had something more to keep me going. Stage 3.

Stage 3 I was really looking forward to. The heat of the past few sticky spring weeks had petered into ideal racing weather. I’d take myself down to the canal to cool myself further. Running past the few other joggers and dog walkers who were cashing in their commute spurred me on.

“I’m running a marathon!” I wanted to cry. “Halfway there!”

But you don’t do that. Not in London. You make awkward eye contact with your passing peer, managing a nod at most, a grunt if you’re lucky.

My enthusiasm for being outdoors, finally off the hamster wheel of dread, was not contagious enough to perk up the grey-mooded city dwellers in the smile-stagnant streets around me. But what did I care? I was running a marathon.

It must have been the comparison to that mornings treadmill traipse but some of those ten miles were the most joyful I’ve had in a long time. I was proving to myself that I could overcome. My head would not defeat my legs and, vice versa, my legs would prove to me that they could keep going. Even if they didn’t want to, they were strong. And I was tenacious.

I rarely feel this.

This affirmation of my ability. Confirmation that I can. And my willingness to work for something I want.

I wont tell you about the final two five ks. They were pretty similar to the first. And, quite frankly, I’m bored of them just thinking back. They were filled with support-seeking calls to friends and out-of-breath Taylor Swift sing alongs.

But I will tell you this –

They made me more sure of myself than I ever thought I could be.

I can do what I find hard.

I can commit and I can triumph.

As I ticked off that final .2 miles my heart fluttered. Slamming the E-stop I stood for a bit. Silently. Then a little whimper.

“Well this is emotional”

“Now what?”

No finish line photo. No bag collection. Just my housemates and homemade banoffee pie.

I sat, sweaty on the sofa and demolished it in seconds.

If all marathons end like this sign me up.

My first 26.2. It’s not a grand story. Just a tale of a runner trying to better herself and conquer corona-induced anxiety.

Of finding something to do to pass another mundane Monday.

And, fuck it.


I ran a marathon.

My Story #quitthecatcall


Cat Calling.

Let’s talk about it.

When I started writing this post, at the beginning of the Corona-induced lockdown I had my thoughts organised.

I felt calm and concise in what I wanted to say.

But now

Now a fire has been lit within me.

Now it’s time for change.

Recently, I have been sharing my experiences more and more on Instagram, regarding street harassment. I have been overwhelmed with messages of support and solidarity, of well wishes and advice. But what causes a knot of rage in my stomach and has distressed me the most is the accounts of every other female runner on the platform.

I know I’m not alone in this, in the feeling of dread and uncertainty every time I pull my laces tight and cross the threshold of my front door. I knew that before and to have that crushingly confirmed has been the spark that has led me to wanting to take action.

I guess my story is as good a place to start as any.

I’ve spoken to many non-runners in the past about the street harassment of our kind. It often results in the same, age-old, tiresome “but you’re called Cat, wheeey” comment, which I’ve now come to expect so much so that I’ll usually get there first. Saves my eyes rolling, that way.

I’m more than happy to laugh about the serious stuff in life – humour is the buoyant, British way of dealing with most adversity. However, it’s time to lose the smiles, change our grins to war paint and stare this street-born affliction in the face.

The harassment of runners leads to a dangerous precedent for women in most other aspects of life.

I can only speak from my perspective. As a woman who has been pounding the pavements for four years now and, before that, a barely-pubescent teen ambling to the village shop for a Creme Egg, I’ve seen my fair share of heckles, white van whistles and “Smile, love”s.

I’ve been shouted at, sworn at, followed, touched. I’ve chased motorcycles down streets in a blinded fit of rage and I’ve crumbled to my knees after in exasperation. Damning my legs for not being able to keep up with them and my eyes for not being keener.

“Get the registration number, we’ll have a word”

Have a word. That’s what the police officers told me, as I begged them in the street, breathless and bitter for something, anything I could do to stop this.

To not feel safe, to know the law couldn’t protect me, was shattering. In that moment, my confidence in our leaders waned.

Not that my ire is with the police – it’s not. The law doesn’t make their job easy in this matter and, quite frankly, they can do as much as I can with the little information I can maintain in that circumstance.

It always happens so fast. I’m barely able to muster an instinctive “fuck you” before my head is able to spur my body into action. By that point they’re usually just a small, misogynistic dot on an a-road horizon.

There’s a lot to be said for the inclusion of street harassment under the legal umbrella of sexual harassment. In September 2018, France took the steps toward making cat-calling and gender based harassment illegal after a video of a man assaulting a woman went viral, after she confronted his vulgarity towards her.

You’ve probably seen it.

It briefly shook the internet.

Before we all forgot.

Because this aggravating act is so ordinary, such a persistent, accepted element of our existence that we can’t help but sweep it under the rug as soon as it becomes inconvenient.

It did, however, confirm what we’ve been trying to divulge to society our entire lives.

This footage was prime evidence that verbal harassment is a gateway toward other more violent assaults down the line. If you asked any woman this, they could have told you that in an instant.

There is solidarity in the female experience. Not that I don’t have the support from my male peers. But there is a certain amount of nescience in the community. Whenever I’ve posted on social media about the reality of harassment there is always an influx of shock from my male friends and nods of acknowledgement from women.

But how do we expect our male peers to know about these every-day occurrences if there is still a stigma around talking about it. I’m guilty myself of just shrugging these experiences off as “it’s hot out, I’m wearing less, I made eye contact…”. And, whilst I’d never in a million years victim blame another woman with these thoughts, the accountability for my own ‘choices’ does seem to shame me into silence more often than I’d like.

I’m reluctant to say I’ve been fairly ‘lucky’ with street harassment in my running life.

I’ve never been violently attacked.

I’ve never had persistent, unwanted advances for more than a few minutes.

I’ve never had an encounter that’s lead to further repercussions for me.

Is that lucky?

I know plenty of women will be under the impression that, in the same circumstances, they’d feel lucky too.

Because, the horror stories you hear as a little girl seem worse. The terror you read in the media. The influx of warnings to protect yourself, don’t dress like that, carry pepper spray, don’t get too drunk, don’t flirt – he’ll think you’re asking for it, don’t go out after dark, text me when you’re home. The need to carry a wolverine like grip as you walk home from a night out, keys in fist. The stories from friends, from women we love. Who have experienced worse. The feeling that, on any run or night out, that worse, well, that could be me next.

I’m just lucky it hasn’t happened yet.

What a society we live in, to assume that the responsibility of safety relies on our own actions to divert attacks, rather than to prevent attackers being made. That if we only feel slightly threatened that we can count that as a win. That living in a constant state of mild fear is the norm.

So, I want to start talking about it.

I want to quash the stigma of street harassment.

I want us to speak up and the people in power to start noticing.

It’s scary, it’s ambitious and it’s provocative.

Women who have spoken out for their rights in the past have been subject to media abuse, cyber attacks, keyboard warriors criticism. They’ve been threatened with rape and death.

Which is all the more reason to speak out.

Until women are taken seriously, until our experiences are treated with respect this bigotry will thrive.

It’s time to make a change… watch this space.

Taking back control.


CW: Eating Disorders, Exercise Abuse

So, blog post one.

I’m currently tapping away at my keyboard, torn between whether I should visit the fridge for the third time in as many hours, knowing full well that the contents is neither more exciting or plentiful, or whether its even worth the 15 meter excursion.

It’s the beginning of week 2, Covid-19 lockdown.

It’s a weird time to be, at the moment.

It’s a weird time to be a member of society, coming to the realisation that my employment worth is based merely on the social constructs of economy, stock markets and wishful thinking.

It’s a weird time to be in your mid 20s, what should be the prime of my adult life has left me with more questions than it has answers. I spend every day trying to figure out the answers to life’s most important questions (like, why would you choose to go by the name Boris if your birth name is Alexander, looking at you, Johnson).

But most prominently, for me, it’s a weird time to be a runner.

Having spent most of my teenage to adult years running on/off, I always found a modicum of enjoyment in it but never committed to making it a hobby. That changed in 2019. 2019 was when running became part of my life.

Now, I’m a sucker for honesty, so here goes –

I began running as a weight loss aid, which isn’t uncommon. Most of us probably did. I don’t think anyone goes for that first, sweaty, arduous jog (undoubtedly in a cotton t-shirt that sticks to everything that wobbles and converse, cue injury-anxiety) thinking “yeah, this’ll be fab, there’s absolutely no chance this isn’t going to suck”.

The first few always suck.

The problem lies in the motivation behind that weight loss goal.

Having self esteems issues is pretty much part and parcel of being a teen. Sadly, most young women suffer with body dysmorphia and disordered eating. According to the Priory Group, between 1.25 and 3.4 million people in the UK suffer with and eating disorder, with an average onset age for anorexia being 16-17, and 18-19 for bulimia nervosa.

Teenage me was just another confirmation of these statistics.

It makes sense why; I’ve no idea who I am still 10 years later, let alone back then when the pressure to fit in, to be skinny and pretty was at it’s peak.

So there’s me, 16, zero confidence, shabby converse, cotton leggings toeing the line of my first run.

There was no more to it than wanting to burn off that half a tin of soup I ate for lunch. I didn’t know about that infamous runners high that I’d be chasing a few, long years later. I definitely hadn’t experienced it – I didn’t have the energy.

I didn’t know that if I fueled my body with food that, in turn, I could fuel my brain with running.

All I did know is that running gave me some form of control. And I craved that more than anything.

It may seem unimportant, and kind of uninspiring, those first, few labored moments of my running journey.

And I’d like to say running helped me find my peace of mind and, eventually, my health.

It didn’t.

Years of hard work learning to love myself and throwing out the bathroom scales did.

Eventually, running would become one of the greatest ways I have come to love myself and my body. But I would be lying if I said it started out that way. Mine isn’t an inspirational tale about how, in those first few pounds of the pavement, teenage-me discovered a love of nature, exploration and self worth. The reality was grey-er, many sweaty hours on a treadmill in a gym with no aircon over many long, sticky summer months.

The reason I’m writing about this now isn’t random and isn’t unrelated to Covid-19. It all stems back to that one word – “control”.

It crossed me this past week, as I paced up and now the corridor of my West London flat, that I still craved it. I hadn’t hit over 5000 steps for the past two days due to trying to avoid what felt like the beginnings of Plantar Fasciitis. And it’s not as if I could go for a lovely long walk along the river, due to lock down.

Life had become uncertain again and, in that moment, what my brain wanted was to be able to grab onto any normality and keep it close.

It struck me that it could be very easy to let myself fall back into the comfort of obsession. Thinking of calories and steps would at least keep my mind off the news and suffering blanketing the world.

All day I had weighed up the pros and cons of running through possible injury.

For a split second, I let that comfort wash over any logic and strength I have learned.

11pm, I laced up my Nikes.

I stood, a slight discomfort in the arch of my left foot and a throbbing on the top of my right.

Three steps toward the door.


A pause.

Another step.

Still ouch.


Absolutely not.

I will not let a global pandemic take running from me.

I unlaced and sat on my bed. 6000 off my daily step goal but having won a tiny battle.

In that moment I took back control from the compulsion to have that very thing.

I think if I had gone out that door I would have been nothing but disappointed in myself. And probably injured. If you know me, you’ll know I’m always bloody injured.

If I had gone out that door I wouldn’t have regained control. Ultimately, I would have lost it. Running is so much more to me now than burning calories and trying to get skinny. The realisation of this is what kept me from heading out for the sake of an arbitrary number on a Garmin.

My new years resolution, back before Covid was a thing, was to respect my body and, in doing that, to stop running through injury.

I value running and I value my body more than a compulsion.

It’s important to remember, in these odd times, in between visits to the fridge and copious cups of coffee, that life is still an experience and it is to be lived. It is not a daily step goal, it is not a PB attempt, it is not a calorie deficit.

Sure, I can find wealth in those things, but equally I am the sum of so much more. We all are.

Have goals. Take control. But do not let control take you.


New Blog, who dis?

Mid-way through a 20 miler,
Probably thinking about why the hell I do
this to myself

Well, safe to safe I think lockdown-syndrome has hit us all. So much so that some of us have started trying our hand at something new…


I know we’re not lacking in running and fitness blogs. Trust me, I read enough of them to realise the saturation in the market. But Covid-19 is making us all do crazy things and it’s got me thinking I’ve got something useful to say.

Maybe I’ve spent too much time with my own thoughts lately.

But, anyway. Here we are. Another blog about running by another average runner, hoping to become something very un-average indeed.

I can’t say my journey will be pretty, and I can’t promise it won’t come with a bit of bitching and whining from time to time (hello, seasoned injury-prone runner here). But it will be honest, hopefully relatable and I might even try to throw a bit of funny in there.

So, here goes…

…My ramblings about running…