Illustrated by Jenny Kraemer
Julie Creffield ran her first race, a 3K, in 2003. She weighed almost 300 pounds, was completely untrained, and a young spectator called her "fatty" as she struggled to cross the finish line. But, instead of taking this insult to heart and deciding that the track was no place for her, Creffield realized she could take this experience — and her now-famous "fatty" moniker — and run with it. It isn't that plus-size people can't run, she thought. It's just that we're told we shouldn't.
Since then, Creffield has founded her own website and movement, One Big Fat Run. Her dream is to see one million overweight women finish a race together — she's even set up virtual races to connect runners from all over the world. This sounds ambitious, but Creffield's key advice for new runners is to start slow. "The idea of there being just one type of runner is ludicrous," she writes on her site. "If you run, you are a runner."
Creffield is not only fiercely confident that she can reach her own goals (since that first 3K, she's participated in 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, full marathons, and even ran through London's Olympic stadium); she's also a great example of what is possible when you have patience with yourself. Click through for Creffield's story in her own words — and footage of her running in this year's Brighton Marathon.