The End of an Era: Too Fat to Run Closes for Good Next Month

The End of an Era: Too Fat to Run Closes for Good Next Month

It is with a heavy heart that I must share the news that Too Fat to Run, the beloved blog and community for plus-size runners, will be closing its doors on May 1st. Founded by Julie Creffield in 2010, this groundbreaking platform aimed to create inclusivity in the running world, offering support and inspiration to of all sizes. Over the years, Too Fat to Run has not only provided valuable resources and coaching programs, but also became a powerful advocate for body positivity and breaking down barriers in sports. However, after years of hard work and dedication, Julie has made the difficult decision to move on to new ventures. In this bittersweet farewell, she reflects on the challenges and triumphs of her journey, leaving behind a legacy that has forever changed the running landscape.

Reasons for Closure

Feeling tired and burnt out

Running a business is no easy task, and after over a decade of promoting inclusivity in the running world, Too Fat to Run founder Julie Creffield is feeling tired and burnt out. The constant effort to fight for her work to be seen and appreciated has taken a toll on her, both physically and mentally. It's a feeling for anyone who has dedicated so much time and energy to a cause.

Financial difficulties

Running a business comes with its financial challenges, and Too Fat to Run is no exception. While Creffield's low-cost coaching programs have been successful in reaching a wide audience, the business model struggled to generate the numbers needed to make it financially viable. The audience, primarily made up of in essential frontline roles such as nurses and teachers, has been hit hard by the pandemic and the subsequent cost-of-living crisis. As a result, the business has been unable to recover and is burdened by loans taken to keep it afloat.

Lack of industry support

One of the challenges Creffield faced during her journey with Too Fat to Run was the lack of industry support. Despite her efforts to promote inclusivity in the running world and the impact her work has had on the community, she often found herself fighting alone. This lack of support and recognition can be disheartening and make it difficult to sustain the business in the long term.

Desire to move on to other ventures

After more than a decade of advocating for inclusivity in the running world, Creffield has developed a desire to explore other ventures and be recognized for other accomplishments. Prior to Too Fat to Run, she worked in community engagement and consulting, managing multimillion-pound projects and working with major cultural organizations and politicians. She has also expanded into life and business coaching, supporting thousands of business owners. Creffield wants to be known for these other aspects of her work and is seeking financial stability and success in new endeavors.

Achievements and Impact

Creating inclusivity in the running world

One of the greatest achievements of Too Fat to Run is its impact on creating inclusivity in the running world. What started as a personal blog turned into a movement that helped women of all sizes feel accepted and empowered to participate in a sport that had often excluded them. The community built around Too Fat to Run has provided support and encouragement to countless women.

Inspiring women to start running

Too Fat to Run has played a significant role in inspiring women to start running. Through blog posts, coaching programs, and personal stories, Creffield has shown women that running is not limited to a specific body type or fitness level. She has shattered the stereotypes and barriers that often discourage women from entering the world of running.

Publishing successful books

Another notable achievement of Too Fat to Run is the publication of successful books. Creffield's passion for writing led her to publish her first book, “From Slouch to 10K,” followed by her best-selling book, “The Fat Girls Guide to Marathon Running.” These books have not only provided practical advice but have also served as a source of inspiration for women looking to challenge societal norms and pursue their running goals.

Hosting events and retreats

Too Fat to Run has organized and hosted various events and retreats throughout its existence. From cheer stations at the London Marathon to wellness retreats in Greece, these events have brought the community together, fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie among participants. By creating spaces where women can connect and celebrate their accomplishments, Too Fat to Run has made a significant impact on the running community.

Supporting women through coaching programs

One of the core aspects of Too Fat to Run has been its coaching programs. Creffield has developed and offered coaching programs that specifically cater to plus-size women. These programs have provided guidance, support, and motivation for women to start and maintain their running journeys. By focusing on the unique challenges that plus-size women face, Too Fat to Run has created a safe and inclusive space for women to pursue their fitness goals.

The Challenges

Balancing business and single parenting

Running a business while being a single parent presents unique challenges. Creffield had to navigate the demands of managing Too Fat to Run while also dedicating time and energy to raising her daughter. Balancing the responsibilities of work and parenting can be overwhelming and requires careful planning and support systems.

Handling overwhelming email inquiries

As the popularity of Too Fat to Run grew, so did the number of email inquiries flooding Creffield's inbox. Dealing with the overwhelming volume of messages and ensuring timely responses put a strain on her time and resources. Managing and prioritizing emails became a challenge that required efficient systems and support.

Dealing with brands and sponsorships

Engaging with brands and managing sponsorships is an essential part of running a business in the fitness industry. However, Creffield faced challenges in navigating these relationships. From receiving unsolicited products with expectations for promotion to facing limited size ranges from brands, she encountered obstacles that required careful negotiation and advocacy for inclusivity.

The End Of An Era: Too Fat To Run Closes For Good Next Month

Struggling to expand and hire a team

The desire to grow and expand Too Fat to Run led to the challenge of hiring a team. However, with the responsibilities of single parenting and the demanding nature of the business, finding the time and resources to build a team proved difficult. The struggle to grow beyond a one-woman operation limited the capacity for greater impact and growth.

The Pandemic’s Impact

Launching the Thrive Inside program

When the pandemic hit, Creffield felt a duty to support her community by launching the Thrive Inside program. Designed to provide activities and support during a difficult time, the program offered bespoke content tailored to the audience's needs. The daily dance breaks, laughter yoga sessions, and sessions on managing grief provided a lifeline to the community during uncertain times.

Financial struggles and loan repayment

Like many businesses, Too Fat to Run experienced financial struggles during the pandemic. The decrease in program participation and the challenges faced by the audience in terms of finances had a significant impact on the business's revenue. As a result, Creffield found herself still paying off loans taken to keep the business afloat, further exacerbating the financial burden.

Decreased program participation

The pandemic had a direct impact on program participation for Too Fat to Run. The uncertainty and challenges faced by individuals during this period led to a decrease in interest and enrollment in coaching programs. The ever-changing circumstances and financial strain made it difficult for potential participants to commit to additional expenses, resulting in lower program numbers.

The End Of An Era: Too Fat To Run Closes For Good Next Month

Strain on the audience’s finances

One of the greatest impacts of the pandemic on Too Fat to Run's audience was the strain on their finances. Many in the community, including nurses, teachers, and carers, were on the front lines of the pandemic and faced additional financial difficulties. This made it challenging for them to invest in coaching programs or purchase merchandise, further contributing to the business's financial struggles.

Desire for Recognition Beyond Fat Running

Working in community engagement and consulting

Creffield's previous experience and expertise in community engagement and consulting are an integral part of her career. With a background in managing multimillion-pound projects and working with major cultural organizations, she has a wealth of knowledge that extends beyond the realm of fat running. Creffield seeks recognition for her work in these areas and desires to explore new opportunities in community engagement and consulting.

Expanding into life and business coaching

In addition to her work in the running world, Creffield has expanded into life and business coaching. This aspect of her career has allowed her to support thousands of business owners in starting and scaling their ventures. Moving forward, she wants to establish herself as a coach beyond the scope of health and fitness and work with a diverse range of individuals, not just women.

Wanting to be known for other accomplishments

While Creffield's work with Too Fat to Run has made a significant impact on the running world, she desires recognition for her other accomplishments. Her passion for writing and her experience in community engagement and consulting are equally important parts of her career. Creffield wants to be known for her multifaceted talents and contributions to various fields.

The End Of An Era: Too Fat To Run Closes For Good Next Month

Seeking financial stability and success

Financial stability and success are important goals for Creffield as she looks to the future. While the work she has done with Too Fat to Run has been fulfilling, she recognizes the need for financial stability to support her life and future ventures. Seeking new opportunities and focusing on ventures that provide the financial stability she desires is a priority as she transitions beyond fat running.

Vision for the Running World

Continued belief in community-led change

Even with the closure of Too Fat to Run, Creffield continues to believe in the power of community-led change. The impact of the work she has done over the past decade has shown that communities can drive significant shifts in the running world and beyond. She remains hopeful that the progress made towards inclusivity and acceptance will continue to grow.

Advocacy for sport and health at every size

A core belief of Too Fat to Run is that sport and health should be accessible to individuals of all sizes. Creffield's advocacy for sport and health at every size will continue beyond the closure of the business. She will remain an advocate for breaking down size-based barriers in sports and promoting body acceptance and empowerment.

Highlighting the need for inclusivity in sports brands

The lack of inclusivity in sports brands has been a recurring issue in the running world. Creffield has experienced firsthand the limitations and challenges faced by plus-size individuals when it comes to finding sports apparel that caters to their needs. Moving forward, she will continue to highlight the necessity for sports brands to expand their size ranges and promote inclusivity.

Supporting others in the battle for change

While Creffield may be closing the chapter on Too Fat to Run, her support for others in the battle for change will not waver. She seeks to uplift and amplify the voices of individuals and groups working towards inclusivity and acceptance in the running world. Creffield's vision is to continue supporting and collaborating with those dedicated to making a difference.

Moving Forward

Continuing personal fitness activities

Even without Too Fat to Run, Creffield's personal commitment to fitness remains strong. Running, hiking, swimming, cycling, and crossfit are among the activities she will continue to pursue. By prioritizing her own well-being and fitness, she can lead by example for others.

Exploring new forms of sharing experiences

While the blog portion of Too Fat to Run may be closing, Creffield is open to exploring new ways to share her experiences. Whether through other platforms, social , or alternative mediums, she recognizes the value of storytelling and the impact it can have on inspiring others.

Launch of The Year to Change venture

Creffield recently launched The Year to Change, a new venture that focuses on personal and business coaching. This endeavor allows her to build on her previous experience and support individuals in achieving their goals. The launch of The Year to Change represents a fresh start and an opportunity for continued growth and success.

Starting fresh with support and lessons learned

Closing Too Fat to Run does not mean the end of Creffield's journey. Rather, it marks a new beginning filled with support from the community she has built and the lessons she has learned along the way. While the decision to close may be bittersweet, Creffield is enthusiastic about the future and the possibilities it holds.

End of an Era Celebration

Reminiscing about the past decade on social media

Throughout the month leading up to the closure of Too Fat to Run, Creffield will take the opportunity to reminisce about the past decade on social media. This celebration of milestones and memories allows the community to come together and reflect on the impact they have collectively made.

Cheer station at the London Marathon in April

As a final hurrah, Too Fat to Run will have a cheer station at the London Marathon in April. This event provides an opportunity for the community to come together, support each other, and celebrate everything they have achieved during their time with Too Fat to Run.

Archiving the blog and books for reference

While the blog may be closing, the content will still be accessible as an archive for reference. Creffield recognizes the value of the community's stories and experiences and wants to ensure their continued availability. Additionally, her books will still be available, although some may eventually be phased out.

In conclusion, the closure of Too Fat to Run marks the end of an era but opens the door to new opportunities and ventures for Julie Creffield. The impact and achievements of Too Fat to Run have been significant, from fostering inclusivity in the running world to inspiring women to start running and supporting them along their journeys. However, the challenges faced, the financial struggles, and the desire for recognition beyond fat running have led to the difficult decision to close the business. Nonetheless, Creffield's vision for the running world remains strong, centered around community-led change, advocacy for inclusivity, and support for others fighting for change. Moving forward, she will continue to prioritize her own fitness activities, explore new ways of sharing her experiences, and launch The Year to Change venture. The closure of Too Fat to Run will be celebrated with social media reminiscing and a cheer station at the London Marathon. The blog and books will be archived for reference, ensuring that the impact and stories of the community live on. While the end of an era is never easy, it paves the way for new and exciting possibilities. Love always, Julie.

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