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Volunteering with This Woman Runs: A journey of support, friendship, and empowerment

Updated: Mar 21

Welcome to This Woman Runs (TWR), where our running community is more than just about putting one foot in front of the other. At TWR, we pride ourselves on fostering a supportive, encouraging, and inclusive environment that sets us apart from traditional running groups. Whether you're a regular marathon runner or lacing up your running shoes for the first time, we embrace women of all ages, sizes, and backgrounds with open arms.


In this blog post, we sat down with Jess, our incredible Community Leader in Southampton, to delve deeper into what it means to volunteer with TWR...


What makes TWR unique?

"Running with TWR is not like running with any other running group. The support, encouragement, and (most importantly) fun are second to none...we have so many women who leave traditional running clubs to come and run with us. TWR offers a safe and inclusive space for women to get active and find headspace in this chaotic world. We aren't a competitive running group, we are about getting out and giving it a go, and having fun whilst doing it. In Southampton, we love themed fancy dress, tutus, and cake/coffee or a cheeky pub trip after our runs!"



What other social benefits do you get from being part of a TMR community alongside running?

"Friendship and a sense of belonging. At an event recently, one of our runners came and found us instead of running with others, because in her words, "I needed to be with my people", and that really resonated with me. Through TMR I have met some amazing women and developed some amazing friendships. We are a community, a team....and I always say that with TMR I have finally found my tribe."


I’m nervous about joining/volunteering – what advice would you offer?

"Just do it! One of the main reasons I set up my local group was that I was worried about not fitting in with other running groups. As a larger woman, I always felt like I didn't belong in the running community until I found TMR. Regardless of your age, size, race, or running ability, you will always get a warm welcome at a TMR run. The angels are easy to spot in their custom t-shirts, and we love new members!!!"


What happens if I’m too slow for the group?

"No one is too slow! This was something I always struggled with when deciding whether or not to set up my own group. What if everyone is faster than me? What if I can't keep up? But TMR isn't about speed. We don't start discussing what pace we will run at! There aren't any pacers. As long as we are out and getting that headspace it doesn't matter what speed we run at. Every run is different, but it's tailored to those who are running each session, so we always run at whatever pace is most comfortable for everyone. The angels will always stay with the slowest runner so they are not on their own, with the faster runners constantly looping back so no one is ever constantly feeling like they are at the back. Struggling (because we all have those days) and need to walk to catch your breath? No big deal! In all honestly, we all chat so much when we run that it's physically impossible to run fast!"



How has exercise/running changed your life?

"I got back into running after treatment for bulimia. For years, exercise was purely about calories and weight loss, but my therapist challenged me to find a form of activity to take part in as a "joyful movement". I like to think it was fate, as that week I found TMR. With an emphasis on the positive mental impact of running and no focus on weight loss, TMR has shown me just how beneficial running with a group is for my mental health. I no longer see running as a punishment but as a fun escape from the pressures of everyday life."


How has being a member impacted you?

"It's given me the sense of community I didn't know I needed. Yes, it's nice to get out and run, but TWR is more than running. It's laughing, dancing, hugging, crying.... it's friendship and support. I have been through a lot in my personal life over the last year, and without the support of my group, I honestly don't know how I would have gotten through it."


If you'd like to learn more about volunteering with us head to www.thiswomanruns.com/volunteer






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