8 Mar

These Girls Can And Do

The This Girl Can campaign is back and regular contributor Chris Broadbent has noticed the impact it is already having.

The new This Girl Can campaign relaunched in late February with another inspiring advert featuring real women in all their jiggly, sweaty glory. The first incarnation in 2015 was watched almost 100 million times and was reckoned to be a driving force behind three million more British women becoming active.

The 2017 version is just as powerful, showing women in a way not typically portrayed in media. A bit bumpy, a bit lumpy, but loving every minute of it. As a man, it’s not aimed at me. But you can’t help but smile at these ads.

Now, there may be no link whatsoever, it might just be coincidence. But on my Sunday morning run at the weekend, I crossed paths with several all-female pairs and trios of runners and cyclists. Normally I see one or two, but by and large it is mostly men I tend to see out. Not this particular day.

At my running club too, I have seen two familiar female faces from my school days join the club. I wouldn’t patronise them by suggesting it’s all because of This Girl Can. But, broadly speaking, it does seem to have its effect.

As a man, I have no hope of ever understanding what it’s like to be a woman. Right, girls? But I do understand the widely held fear of women reluctant to exercise over a fear of being judged. Which is exactly what This Girl Can is successfully fighting to overcome.

I also get the need for women-only events, removed of those competitive, testosterone-fuelled hairy beasts like me. Fabulous though I find any mixed half marathon or 10k, there is something very unique and inspiring around Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life 5K or events like the Great Women’s 10K in Glasgow. They have an atmosphere all unto themselves.

And if that encourages more women to get active, then I'm more than cool with that. Don’t mind me, you go girls!