21–22 January 2023 108 days to go! Tickets

Fumi St Marthe

I never believed that I could be a runner. I don’t fit the typical profile of a runner that I see in magazines and on TV – I am an older, curvier, black woman. I started running during lockdown. I wanted to get fit and be a good role model to my children. I started with Couch to 5k. There were some tough days but I’m glad that I saw it through to the end.

I found Emancipated Run Crew after reading an article in The Telegraph. I reached out to them and was immediately made welcome. I was encouraged to run my own race, at my own speed, in my own way. I love the family vibe. Members are free to share their runs and workouts and we celebrate all achievements. It is also a safe space to share concerns and anxieties. There is always a supportive voice. With the support of ERC, I have run several 10k races. I may be the slowest, but my ERC family is always at the finish line, cheering me home!

I hope that when people see me, they begin to understand that runners come in all races, genders, ages and sizes. A lot of the media images reinforce a particular running stereotype. I think that it is important for running organisations to actively welcome runners from all backgrounds so as to create an inclusive and diverse running community.