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…