Although she has never not run because of her body, Vicky Ledbury has had to overcome the toxic attitudes of others. ‘I've always been overweight, and I had a negative experience at school where I was given detention because I was too slow at a cross country run,’ she says. ‘It put me off for quite a while!’
Unfortunately, she’s also experienced that kind of negativity as an adult. ‘I've been heckled on numerous occasions while running – called things like “fatty” and “fat b**ch”,’ she says. But Ledbury stays focused on what her body can do: ‘My body might be carrying a few extra pounds, but it's carried me around four marathons, an ultra and loads of other races and miles.’
Ledbury also emphasises that there are lots of supportive voices in the running community and beyond. ‘Sadly there will always be people who think that to be a runner that you have to be a certain type of build or run a particular pace, but there are also loads of other people out there who will cheer you on regardless,’ she says.
‘When I shared my experiences of being heckled it was the most supported post I've ever done on Instagram, and the comments about how I was helping to inspire others were so lovely. I hope through sharing my running journey I can help people see that you don't need to be a particular shape or size to run – if you put on your shoes and get out the door you are a runner!’
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