“Watching the most unlikely of friendships form between women whose lives would never have crossed paths ordinarily has been the most rewarding part of forming the club.”

As a proud, plus-size woman, who struggled to find the motivation to begin her own fitness journey, I know better than most that many larger ladies find gyms daunting and lack the motivation to get up and go. I know that this needs to change.

Running has completely transformed my life. There’s no need to join a gym and I’ve discovered a drive that I didn’t know existed! Who knew that hiding inside the ‘Fat Girl’ was an athlete fighting to get out?

In 2016, this led me to become a This Girl Can Essex ambassador and form my running group, the Hutton Heffers Running Club. As fear of judgement is the main culprit for preventing women from getting active, I decided that the HHRC would be strictly for overweight, unfit women to ensure that everyone would be in the same boat. As well as this, I set a 12-week schedule – three months is less daunting than signing up for a year – with an end goal of a ‘fat fun run’ in aid of charity to help with motivation. So as not to pressure anyone, I didn’t set a distance for the fun run.

Creating a club of like-minded people of the same ability and working within a set timeframe towards an end goal helped every member of the group exceed even their own expectations! We all ran 1km on week 5 and, at the end of the programme, every member ran an amazing 5km, raising £5130 for our charity of choice.

Best of all though, we’ve all made lifelong friends and discovered a shared passion for improving our own fitness our way. No fad diets, no weigh-ins – just fun.