Women’s Running – we run too!

I don’t dislike Women’s Running magazine. Actually, I quite like it. I featured in it once and made some cool friends. Some of the articles are interesting and it has lots of information for the beginner runner. But right now, I’m a little pissed off.

Check out this cover from Women’s Running USA.

Women's Running USA
Women’s Running USA

Erica Schenk looks strong. She looks happy. She’s running. She’s breaking down that stereotype that all runners are slim. She’s showing that running is for everyone. Not a word about running for slim legs or how to lose weight on the cover. Instead, we talk about running strong and the best exercises for runners to get stronger. Not thinner.

Well done, Women’s Running USA. A fantastic stand.

See, sometimes I feel like a fraud in the running world. I’m not thin. I find it a slog. I always feel embarassed at PR events asking for a larger size, or if we can go slower. I shouldn’t feel like that and no one is trying to make me feel like that, nevertheless, I do. I feel like a fraud in the running world because I’m not a super slim girl.

So I LOVED this cover.

I left a message on the Women’s Running UK Facebook page on Friday. Sadly, they are yet to respond and I find their silence on the matter rather sad.

Screenshot 2015-07-21 13.23.06

I also Tweeted. Yet to receive a response there too.

Screenshot 2015-07-21 13.24.45I know it’s only Tuesday, but they have been responding to other messages.

I hope that they plan to respond with a similar cover, but I find their silence worrying. As a magazine which has headlines like “lose weight fast” most issues, I don’t see it happening. I really hope I’m wrong.

Obviously there is nothing wrong with featuring slim, toned runners on a cover. And there is nothing wrong with articles on how to target fat, etc. After all, we all want to be healthy, right?

But I also think it’s healthy sometimes to do a cover in the style of the US Women’s Running. We want to promote running as being inclusive, as being something for everyone to do, for everyone to do as a way to keep healthy. I see Erica, the cover girl running and I think “hey, she looks strong. She can do it, so I can too”.

Hey Women’s Running UK? Please show a bigger runner on the cover? Because we run too. I’m not saying do it every issue. But every now and again as runners come in all different shapes and sizes. Go to any running event. Big runners, small runners, tall, short, skinny, fat, but we’re all doing it. Cover all body types.

Can we get a Twitter hashtag going? Upload a photo of yourself and tag #weruntoo.

Edit: I had a message on Facebook from David Castle, the Editorial Director for Wild Bunch Media who publish Women’s Running in the UK. He very kindly took the time to send me this message. Sounds positive!

“Hello Helen I’m the editorial director of Wild Bunch Media, publishers of Women’s Running magazine. I’m sorry you haven’t received a reply but I expect that’s more to do with our skeleton staff (and our digital editor being on holiday) than any conspiracy! We have also been following the chatter around the US version of WR (which is not related). We have been engaged at the very early stages of the ThisGirlCan initiative in the UK and are a leading contributor to and partner of the campaign. To that end – as we have always done – we celebrate real women and their running, whatever their reasons, whatever shape and size. I hope you’ve noticed a move away from the ‘flat belly fast’ type cover line to a more running-focused magazine. Like it or not, weight loss is still a key entry point into running for many women, and we still need to focus on nutrition. However, we have changed the balance to reflect a more rounded, thoughtful and engaging editorial strategy which we hope will bring more women into the sport. We are looking at all sorts of cover possibilities going forward and will hope to represent real women better. My parting shot: watch this space! Best wishes David”

4 thoughts on “Women’s Running – we run too!

  1. I think there needs to be a nice mix of sizes on the covers of magazines. It can’t be all about plus sized runners, as that isn’t a complete representation of the running community. But at the same time, I don’t want to see super-skinny athletic types in every issue too. I read somewhere that the average woman in the UK is a size 14 and yet you barely see size 14 models in the media.
    It’s a sad fact that lots of women are constantly trying to lose weight and will be looking for front cover headlines in magazines that promise to help them do so. There are a lot of runners that take up the sport as a way to lose weight, -me included, although it’s about much more than that for me now.

    1. I initially took it up to lose weight too, I think it’s a pretty good reason to start running and obviously it makes sense that they would cover this.

      But it would also be good to sometimes see about running strong, rather than just losing weight.

      Agree, it can’t be all about plus size runners, but I want to see a mix too. I’m a size 14. I run. I want someone to represent me! :)

  2. Great debate and it’s fantastic that US version of WR has a normal body type on the cover! Interesting point that David raises about weight loss often being a reason for women starting running but it would be nice to have someone that we can all identify on a magazine cover for once, not some slender airbrushed model! p.s. Am I one of your “cool friends”?? ;) x

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