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Suffolk Coastal

Nichola from Martlesham Heath

The This Girl Can campaign embodies everything that I feel when I do any sport. Diagnosed with cancer in September 2013 I was always active, sporty and fit. I was also training for the Brighton Marathon. Doing a lot of sport had to be out on hold to get through my operations and chemo. However whilst still in treatment in April 2015 I ran the London Marathon with my brother Alastair. Since then I've gone onto raise over £20,000 with family and friends for charity. Celebrating my 40th I took part in 40 challenges which involved getting family and friends on board for various events. This was a truly amazing time. However in 2017 I was re-diagnosed and subsequently had to have another major operation. Never before has the slogan This Girl Can got me out the other side. Whilst in hospital I promised myself I would get fit and active again. I trained up for and ran the Ipswich Twilight 2 months after my op. Now I have set up a new project called Run For Research. Encouraging people to run and raise funds for Cancer Research UK. I love this charity so much and love everything about what they are trying to achieve. I am also now training to be a Personal Trainer. I have a list for life like never before. I love sport with a passion. I love everything about empowering women of all ages to go for it. To live and to celebrate life to the fullest.

Tracey from Kesgrave

Fit has no size

Activity: Plyometrics

I have been using Plyometric fitness programmes for 3 years. T25, Insanity, Insanity max 30 are a few. These workouts are by far the most difficult I have every attempted, but I am proud to say I completed them and bought the t shirt. There is so much stigma around plus size and at a size 22/24, if you look at me you wouldn't believe I work out 6 days a week.

I suffer with asthma and hip issues. All of which was a massive barrier, but even though the physical is the barrier, your mind gets you through. I dedicate my mind to getting me through every move, even if I can only complete one.

I became a lifestyle blogger and fitness coach after so many social media posts making fun of plus size/ obese people and judging them based on a picture. I wanted to put myself out there and show the trolls that there may be a story behind the size. What you see may not be a reflection of what the lifestyle is.

Fit has no size, shape or weight. It's a state of mind, commitment to being healthy and active and determination to push pass any fit goal to take yourself to the next level.

I challenge and encourage any woman, whoever you are to commit to being active, whether dancing, running, cycling or beasting. Fitness is vital for a healthy and long life, no matter what your size your body can do it. You just need to change your mind into believing it.

If this girl can, any girl can!

Jenny from Martlesham Heath

Some running is better than no running

Activity: Running

I started running in October 2015 to get fit and lose weight before my 40th. First, I ran just 3 minutes at a time, mainly at night because I was embarrassed about my size. It was hard but I soon found I could run for longer. I went along to Kesgrave parkrun which was incredibly daunting at first but I soon loved it!! The parkrun community is amazing.
I was losing weight and inches and my confidence started to grow, so much that I entered a few races, the first being Alton Water 10km (which was terrible!!), then Race for Life Pretty Muddy and Martlesham 10km (which was amazing!!). I was regularly getting PBs at parkrun and then the biggest challenge of all. I received a charity place to run the London marathon earlier this year!! I trained for 5 months through all weathers which was incredibly challenging but I persevered and finished the marathon in 7 hours and 12 minutes and raised £5,855 for CRUK. It was the most amazing and toughest experience ever!!
Running isn't easy for me and some days I don't want to go but once I'm out of the door, I never regret it.

Katie from Felixstowe

If in doubt, sweat it out

Activity: Hockey, Running and Martial Arts

Typical girl growing up body conscious, lacking in confidence in my early 20s I discovered the gym, no pressure of high school PE no one telling me I had to do it. I went on my own to try and loose some weight, finding out I actually liked the buzz of adrenaline exercise gave me, I set to find myself new challenges beyond the gym. This is when I dabbled in martial arts, great for discipline but lacked a social side for me personally. This led me to Hockey which I'm in love with the sport, my team, my club. I now enjoy pushing my body, and as always trying to keep the weight off.

Zoe from Martlesham Heath

Smashing balls...and expectations

Activity: Volleyball, netball, gym

I started playing volleyball 5 years ago after watching coverage of the sport at the London 2012 games. At the time I was going through a difficult patch in life, battling with depression and an all time low in self confidence. Having never touched a volleyball in my life, when I turned up I was a total beginner. But quite soon playing volleyball gave me something to be confident about. I made new friends, I started playing competitively and it even gave me the confidence to captain my team. Im now at the stage where I compete nationally in division 1 and have goals to compete in the top league in the country. I'm a totally changed person, I'm happy, confident, full of energy and positivity because I chose to start playing instead of just watching! The team spirit, encouragement and togetherness is something unlike any other sport, and I would encourage all women out there to give it a try!

Jo from Ufford

Good things to those who work hard and never give up

Activity: Running

I am not a "runner" - I ran my first 5km Parkrun in Kesgrave under 2 years ago and on August 12 2017 I will run my first ultra.
I believe that all women should feel proud of their bodies - not because of how they look but because of what their body can do! My first Parkrun in January 2015 was probably one of the most uncomfortable and confidence shattering experiences of my life. I was not that bothered that I carried a few extra pounds here and there but I was bothered by the fact that I felt weak and incapable. I find it genuinely sad that we are prepared to invest so much money and energy into having a body that looks good in a little black dress but we do not have the same motivation to invest in a body that is strong and powerful and "do" something awesome. I have developed a wide network of friends who have supported me and invested their knowledge in me to enable me to reach my goals and I would like to be able to give a little bit of that back to my local community

Bon from Woodbridge

Activity: Running

I took up running 2 year ago because I was told I might never walk again. I was also massively overweight and had tried every diet under the sub. I wanted to get fit and stay fit rather than focus on diets and now I'm hooked. It helps my confidence and my mental health too. In may I ran the Woodbridge 10k even though one of my Ptsd triggers is being chased. It's about getting out there and achieving. Nothing feels as good as that.

Emma from Martlesham Heath

It's not about being better than someone else. It's about being better than you used to be

Activity: Cycling and Running

Although I have always enjoyed power walking, 12 months ago I decided to kick things up a gear and try out running and cycling. I completed my first 5k run last year and felt an immense sense of achievement, considering I couldn't run for half a mile when I started training. I especially enjoy cycling now and recently completed my first ever sportive (45m); I'm signed up for my first 100k sportive in a few weeks. Since undergoing spinal surgery in 2012 and suffering with Crohns disease for 17 years I've found plenty of reasons not to be more active – I'll injure my back again, I need to be near toilet facilities, I won't be well enough today - and worrying that I wouldn't be able to 'keep up with the boys'. Now I realise that I needed to start somewhere, and I'm doing it for myself, no one else - she's the only person I need to compete with! I'm happier, healthier, stronger and more confident for it, – and I'm doing it for the girls!

Carla from Kesgrave

If you don't try you will fail 100% of the time

Activity: Running

I run three of four times a week and have completed 2 marathons this year so far - 2 more booked! I am not fast, I am not a natural sportsperson but I just keep getting out there and trying - for my health and the fact I now enjoy it!
When I started I was so unfit I could barely keep a jog going for 2 minutes, I thought I had asthma as I was wheezing so badly. I never thought it was going to get easier but it did.
I love the This Girl Can campaign because I see the posters and think, yup, I can! I AM!
I have met so many friends through my running and this is now helping to support my new business venture. It has literally changed my life.

Helen from Kesgrave

I can, I will, end of story!!!

Activity: Running, gym, cycling and Pilates

At 50, and following a number of operations, I was forced into the surgical menopause. I felt I literally changed overnight and was not prepared at all ☹ Research on diet, running, and combined with developing my own strength/conditioning programme has saved my sanity!!

Joining Felixstowe Road Runners and improving my core strength contributed to a dramatic improvement in my running - my parkrun PB went from 28.00 to 21:58 mins, I won several races in my age group and ran a 4hr Manchester marathon in April!

I am training to be a Pilates instructor, and have started a blog 'The Menopausal Athlete' aiming to inspire other women going through this same period. The menopause is a taboo subject but it is NOT the end in terms of exercise, in fact the exact opposite! Exercise is essential for health and wellbeing both physically and mentally. It's not time for the blue rinse and big knickers!!

Unfortunately, in June I had a nasty bike accident, fracturing my shoulder and underwent surgery to have a plate & pins inserted. I'm currently rehabbing hard to get back to where I was ……This Girl Can!

Lisa from Kesgrave

Don't give up because of what someone said, use that as motivation to push harder

Activity: Running

Complete non runner up until last year after loosing my dad suddenly I entered into the adnams 10 k after a couple of local park runs.. I found running gave me a focus and cleared my head as I was suffering from stress and anxiety and grief. I joined a team and a running group and made new friends and had challenges to do.

Lucy from Kesgrave

You can throw in the towel or use it to wipe the sweat off your face

Activity: Running, cycling, gym classes and rugby

My main passion is running but
I was never like this, overweight as a child I did anything to get out of sport and was unfit all the way though to adulthood but as I got older I got determined to prove people wrong, I completed a 5k but it didn't seem good enough so I completed a 10k and that wasn't good enough so I signed up for a half marathon and ended up running the London marathon. It still wasn't good enough but I relasied I was good enough I'd done something amazing and no one else mattered
Now I'm addicted and run must days of the week, I've completed 100's of races, joined a running club, run 4 marathons, a 31 mile and a 35 mile running event.
I've made the best friends I've ever had & it's changed me as a person. If life gets to much I just run and it reminds me that This girl can and she does

Michelle from Felixstowe

Sweat is the new Glow

Activity: Running

I was given 2 few months to live. I desperately needed a liver transplant. I was diagnosed with a autoimmune disease. My body was closing down. I was fed through my nose high calorie liquid. In August 2014 I received the gift of life. A new liver. One year later I ran in the British transplant Games. 1 gold +1 sliver following year I ran again received 3 golds. I was selected to run for Great Britain. Without my sport I can honestly say I don't think I would have made a full recovery

Allison from Kesgrave

I can't is not an option

Activity: Running

Took up running only a few years ago (having detested such activity at school). My father died suddenly 10 years ago; I'm a single mum to a teenager with familial high cholesterol and a blood clotting disorder - so took up running to keep fit and prevent further problems and to give myself the best chance of good health and live life to the full. Now new running challenges keep me pacing the streets locally and saying no is not an option! Would love to inspire other "older" ladies to take the plunge.

Inge from Woodbridge

Activity: Running

If it sounds too hard, its worth going for.

I am a mother of two young children, and am working fulltime. This however didn't stop me from attempting the worlds toughest Foot race. I like to support others and in my journey to this race I have raised nearly 10.000 for the neo natal wards in Ipswich hospital, a charity close to my heart.
I never thought I'd be good in running, but i am! Starting only in 2014 I feel confident now in my ever growing skill and ability.
I'm am a UK athletics running leader now and will soon also be supporting and coaching others in achieving their own goals.
With mental health in the forefront of all that I do this too is something running and exercising supports positively.

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