I am delighted to be writing my first blog since becoming a community ambassador for Sports Tours International. I have taken part in Sports Tours International events before and I am so excited to partner with a company which shares the same values as I do. I am very passionate about sport at every level and about the difference that physical activity can make in people’s lives.
I suppose it is fitting that my first blog falls on International Women’s Day. In my sport of boxing, as a little girl despite loving the sport and doing all the same training as the boys in the gym, I never had the opportunity to compete, since boxing was banned for females back then. I faced a lot of name calling in school as a girl who chose to do ‘boys sports’ since I also loved football too, and even now as an adult, there are people who refer to me as a ‘tomboy’ instead of as an athlete who has represented my country in two sports (football and boxing.) I do lots of talks, particularly in schools, where I try to tell young girls that it’s okay to be strong, to be competitive, to be yourself and love what you do even if society tells you differently. I faced a lot of stigma and resistance as a young girl and spent many years thinking and feeling that there was something wrong with me, so I want to be the role model I never had as a youngster, so girls and boys can feel okay about doing what they love. Gender should never be a barrier to human potential.
The theme for International Women’s Day this year is #pressforprogress, something women have always had to do in sport throughout history. At one time women were not allowed to run further than 200m! And many of you will know of Katherine Switzer who entered the Boston marathon in 1967 when it was banned for women and the stewards tried to drag her off the course! She did finish the race that day and also last year in 2017 she ran it once again, this time at the age of 70 and they retired her number at the end. This just shows what progress can be made when we break away from the limitations put upon us.
Now, the reason women weren’t allowed to run marathons years ago is because people believed we would die as of course our bodies couldn’t withstand that sort of distance (despite the fact that women have given birth to every marathon runner who’s ever existed!) Challenging these misconceptions is key to change, and we now know that women are pretty incredible long-distance runners! Indeed, this Mother’s Day I’ll be celebrating by going on a run with mum. My ‘pocket rocket’ mum is 58 now and is currently preparing for the England masters 10k qualification race, she absolutely loves running and is VERY competitive!
Sport is a huge part of our lives and running together is something we have treasured for many years now, a chance to chat, catch up, share beautiful views, get out in nature, push ourselves, challenge ourselves, and enjoy time together as mother and daughter. We’re very fortunate to be able to run together and I’m very proud of how well my mum (Glennis Richardson) is doing in the sport. We will both be at the Tour of Tameside this year, mum is aiming to finish as high as possible in her age category, and depending on my boxing training I’ll either be running or cheering people on! We hope to see some of you there! Until next time… whatever progress you are striving for, keep pressing on!
Heard you in the freezing cold at the March for Women event in Manchester on 3 March, Stacey, and thought 'What a lovely woman and what a good speaker!'. Your blog is very inspiring too, well done you.
Written by Jill, 10th March 2018 - Reply
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