UK charity Women In Sport is encouraging mothers and daughters to nurture their relationships with each other and with exercise with the new #TimeTogether campaign
Women in Sport, the UK’s leading charity for female sports research, has launched a new national campaign called #TimeTogether that encourages young women to exercise with their mothers (or aunts, older sisters, family friends – any female role model) to develop their relationships as well as their physical health.
Organisations including This Mum Runs, The Wildlife Trusts and Her Spirit will be getting involved in the initiative by offering activity ideas and inspiring women to share their #TimeTogether experiences online.
Whether it’s walking, running, dancing or swimming together, Women in Sport want to see more young women exercising with their female relatives, spending time together in a healthy and happy way.
Currently, only 42% of teenage girls meet physical activity guidelines and just under a third of girls (32%) are inactive, engaging in less than an average of 30 minutes activity per day, while 32% of mums stated that they couldn’t prioritise time for exercise as they were too busy looking after other people.
#TimeTogether aims to offer a ‘safe space’ for women to exercise socially and within the constraints of lockdown without fear of judgement.
We spoke to some of our favourite runners about the new campaign and they told us their own stories of running with women they love.
Laura Fountain, run coach and Women’s Running contributor
“I remember my mum taking me shopping when I was about seven. We bought a pair of green shorts and a green t-shirt, both cotton, that I would wear to run the 5k Fun Run at the Great Eastern Run with her. I remember parts of the race too – her telling me we had to run because people we knew were in the crowd up ahead, and our elderly neighbour stopping us to give me £1 for my charity sponsorship.
“I’d like to say that was the beginning of a life-long love affair with running but I didn’t run in a race again for nearly 20 years. I started running as a complete beginner, built up gradually to doing a local 10k and eventually my first marathon. My mum has been there cheering at most of my marathons. At my second she told me to focus on the man in front’s bum to get me through a tough spot (not an official coaching technique) and after I ran a marathon in a storm in Venice, she had to help me undress and get into the shower my fingers were so numb from the cold.
“My mum has always walked a lot. I remember her doing the Seabank Marathon from Skegness to Boston when I was young, and my sister and I did the Moonwalk midnight marathon with her one year. But she’d never shown any interest in running – that is until lockdown happened. For the past months she has been out several times each week ‘jiggy jogging’ as she calls it and gradually building up to 5k. My mum lives 80 miles away, so I’ve been unable to join her for her training but she texts me after, and sometimes during, with updates on how it’s going. When all this is over, we’ll be able to run together again 30 years after that first Fun Run. Just maybe not in a green cotton outfit this time.”
Tina Chantrey, run coach, Women’s Running fitness editor and running influencer
“Coping with three little girls five and under was such a rollercoaster, and one definitely made more manageable with the structure of weekly exercise. All three walked early – the middle one at 8 months – so they were all enrolled in gym tots before they were one as well as dance classes by the time they were three. They all went on to be enthusiastic and talented gymnasts, and two of them now compete with their dance and cheerleading teams at international level.
“I always wanted them all to have a sport to turn to for whenever life got tough, to bring discipline into their lives, to give them other role models to be able to turn to and learn from, and to show them that you have to work hard in life to achieve your goals. I would have loved them all to fall in love with athletics and running, like I did by the age of 10, but they all hated it, despite my attempts to take them to the track! But they had very obvious and definite natural talents, and I encouraged them to pursue the activities they loved. Through exercise, we’ve created irreplaceable memories, from classic dance and gymnastics to karate, to acro, cheerleading, back to ballet and gymnastics and contemporary dance. It’s not always easy to be the taxi driver or the treasurer as a parent, but when you see them in their happy place nothing else matters. So many girls drop out of sport when they get to 13 or 14 years old, so it’s really important to encourage them to persevere and to use their skills and experience to lift others up so they too can share their love for their sport.”
You can find plenty more inspiring stories of women who are inspired to exercise with their mothers, daughters, sisters and other female role models here.
You can also find out more about the research Women in Sport have carried out to support this campaign, as well as information about the campaign partners, here.
Want more motivational stories from our community of runners? You can find them here.