‘Sport builds confidence’ - Women's Running

‘Sport builds confidence’

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  March 4, 2015

helen grant

WR Editor, Chris Macdonald, catches up with Helen Grant MP, Minister for Sport and Equality, about her passion for running, the importance of sport in schools and our WR10K Race Series.

Tell us about your background in running.

I’ve played sport all my life and have always loved running. At school I represented my county in athletics – specifically the high jump, 800 metres and cross-country.

What sort of distances/routes do you cover?

Mostly up and down the corridors of Whitehall, from meeting to meeting, or when I’m in my Kent constituency door knocking or delivering leaflets, from house to house. But I’ll do between 5 and 10K a week.

Do you think there is too much focus on winning in sport at school or do you think we’re too politically correct and harp on too much about taking part?

I think there is a balance to be struck but sport does teach young people some very important life lessons about winning and losing. So I think we do need healthy competition in school sport. The School Games competition that the government has launched has been a great success, with schools from all over the country taking part.

However, not everyone is going to be the next Jessica Ennis so it’s about ensuring that young people all enjoy sport and understand the benefits that it can bring. Sport is not just great for health, it builds confidence, self-esteem and teaches young people about teamwork too.

Have you changed your attitude to running or sport as you’ve got older?

In my role as Sports Minister, my desire to see more women and girls take up sport has certainly strengthened. And with campaigns such as This Girl Can, I know that we’re reaching more females and showing them that physical activity makes you feel great, no matter what level you’re at. Personally, I need to do something active at least once a week.

What do you think about Women’s Running doing our own series of 10K races for women?

It’s wonderful that you’re inspiring women to participate in sport through these events. Women can sometimes feel self-conscious when it comes to participating in sport, particularly if they’re new to it. So, encouraging women to run in all-women races is a fantastic idea, not only does it foster a great sense of community, but it’s girl power at its best!

This interview will be available in full in our May issue, on sale 26 March.

Photography: Eddie Macdonald

Women's Running Magazine

NMA’s 2020 Lifestyle Magazine of the Year, Women’s Running provides expert advice on gear and training, motivation from your favourite runners and the latest running news.

Meet the team

We use cookies to give you a better experience on womensrunning.co.uk. By continuing to use our site, you are agreeing to the use of cookies as set in our Cookie Policy.

OK, got it