Launched in 2015 by Sport England, This Girl Can is a nationwide movement dedicated to one important goal: helping women get active. Since its conception, the campaign has convinced over 3 million women to live a more active lifestyle, and they’re only just getting started.
Too many women feel held back by the pressures of exercise, whether it’s worrying about being judged, not having enough time or simply lacking the confidence to get themselves out there. This Girl Can celebrates women of all shapes and sizes and shines a light on the reality of fitness. We’re not all supermodels, we’re real people who get sweaty, sore and red in the face - and that’s great!
To find out more, we spoke to Sam Mollaghan, run leader mentor for RunTogether and one of the faces of the This Girl Can campaign about her fitness journey:
“How I introduce myself has changed a bit over the past few years. To me and my family - 3 children and my husband, John - I’m pretty ordinary. For the most part, that hasn’t changed for most of my adult life, until I discovered running.”
“After that, I should say I’m the poster girl for Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign, someone who’s been to No.10 to meet the PM, done live TV and generally enjoyed a surreal last few years.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Paula Radcliffe who can fly around marathons in amazing times, far from it. I’m a close to the back ParkRunner who has a simple message: if I can do it, you can too!
“Seriously, you can. As a schoolgirl, I was no more than a keen gymnast who, like most of us, gave that upon leaving school. This wasn’t necessarily because I didn’t like being fit, more because I didn’t like the pressure that competitive sport puts on you.”
“After that, well I didn’t exactly drift along, but not that much happened. I wish I’d kept it going, but I didn’t and like many of us struggled with my weight and motivation to be fit. I didn’t have any me time. That’s because I’ve always been busy, and I still am. I work 26 hours a week, have 3 children, one of whom is still at home, a husband and these days I lead a couple of RunTogether groups of women I help when it comes to getting them running and that’s the difference.”
“Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t come easy. I still remember that first ParkRun. I’d watched my husband run a few and then one day decided that if those women who were older than me and probably less fit than me can do it, I can too. So I did! And it hurt. I thought I’d killed myself or at the very least done untold damage but something inside me said to give it another go. And I went back and I did it again.”
“What happened next was obviously a bit of a fluke. I’d only run three ParkRuns when a casting agent saw me and thought I fit the bill for what they were looking for in an ad campaign.”
“To cut a long story short, three days later I was in London casting for the role - seriously, it’s impossible to believe even now, I’m just a hospital worker - and then all of a sudden I’m heading up this campaign, beating all these amazing looking women with proper CVs. It’s mad!”
“So, what I’m going to tell you as a result of all of this is that you really can join me on this journey. You don’t need to be super fit, an athlete, a really fast runner or anything like that. You don’t even have to love running that much. Let me tell you a secret, sometimes it’s still difficult for me! But what you do need to do is understand that when it’s over, you feel amazing. And that’s what I want to share with you.”
“Find a group using runtogether.co.uk and let’s start something you’ll be proud to be a part of.”