Lindsey Swift, 26, has become the first real-life runner to feature on the cover of Women’s Running magazine in the November issue, out on 24 September. Lindsey was chosen to feature on the cover after her Facebook letter to a van driver who heckled her went viral. Our editor, Elizabeth Hufton, went up to meet Lindsey for the cover shoot last month and you can read the full interview in the magazine.
In the piece, Lindsey says she was initially embarrassed by the verbal attack, which happened while she was out running with her boyfriend. As she reflected on the experience, her embarrassment turned to anger. “The more I thought about it, it was just really rude. I can’t see how me running in my body affects his day at all. Why does he think he’s got a right to comment on how I look?”
The next day she decided to express her feelings on Facebook. “I’ve got friends who’ve had similar things happen when they’ve been out walking, or on their way to the gym. I just wanted to write something that maybe those women would read and think, ‘Yeah!’”
Although she hadn’t set out to be a spokesperson for other bullied runners, Lindsey understands why her post had such an impact, since most new runners feel nervous about heading out in public. “I’m not massively self-conscious but I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the idea of going out and running in public. I probably look a mess when I run, but when I actually went out and did it, I thought, ‘I’m here now so I might as well just get on with the task.’”
For Lindsey, running was never about changing the way she looks; what she enjoys is the feeling of being fitter and healthier. “Even though I’ve always been big, I’ve always kind of liked my figure the way it is,” she says. “I don’t want to be skinny, but just to be a little bit more toned and healthier is fine by me. I’ve noticed the difference and I like the way that I feel much healthier. I can do so much more now than I could before.”
Read the full interview with Lindsey in the November issue of Women’s Running, on sale Thursday, 24 September.