Never in a million years did I envision myself feeling running rejection again but here I am. “Currently, our team is looking at working with individuals within the running and fitness space.” Wait! What?! After 5 years of running, becoming a Clinic Coordinator helping other runners reach their goal of running 10km safely, countless 10km runs, 2 half marathons, and now training for a full marathon, I’m still not enough?
Over the years, I’ve faced my share of rejection from fitness brands but this initial running rejection stung a bit more..”our team is not interested in discussing further at this time” Ouch why so short? This was probably the first time I ever replied back asking why? Honestly, I was really caught off guard by the response that I don’t fit in within the running and fitness space!
2016 was the first time I ever experience running rejection when a group of moms in my neighbourhood kicked me out for being too slow. Even after my Vancouver SunRun 10km back in 2017, I would never refer to myself as a runner. I felt like I was a fraud like I was taking away from the hard work that real runners do training for these races. Having those women kick me out of their Run Club, in the beginning, made me feel like running was this elite club that I didn’t fit into.
In my opinion, runners trained all the time, it wasn’t something that only did when convenient for them. Yes, I enjoyed running but every year after the Sun Run was complete, I’d put running away in my back pocket until the next year when the InTraining programs began again. Even when I became a Clinic Coordinator for SportMedBC, I still face with my own running rejection.
It was only when I began training for the Scotia Bank Half Marathon in 2020, I started to consider myself a runner! As the Clinic Coordinator for SportMedBC, I had done the 13-week InTraining program for 2020 Vancouver SunRun which I completed virtually due to Covid. Then I went on to do the 9-week program 10K to Half Marathon virtually, as we were in the beginning stages of the lockdown. After 22 weeks of training, I did my first half marathon!
Now that I had run 21.1km, I couldn’t go back to only doing 10km runs. I didn’t work that hard to go backward. The thought of working so hard to train for a half marathon and then having to start all over again some other time wasn’t an option.
When I asked one of my running gurus, “how do you maintain a half marathon distance?” he told me, “Janette, have to make running your lifestyle and not an event!” It made perfect sense, that was the difference in my head between a runner and me. When I made the decision to keep training to run another half marathon in December, it was the minute in my eyes that I became a runner.
Now back to this running rejection, I get that they are referring to my Instagram profile and that it on it’s own does not brand me within the running or fitness niche necessarily. Maybe I didn’t do a good enough job explaining who I was, what I do, and why I’m the perfect person to share their product with a broader audience. But it got me thinking about how I show up online and within that platform.
I’ve created this space on Instagram that I believe is genuinely authentically me; a safe place for all. I don’t fall into trends (no hate if you do) but I’ve never been the fitting in kind of person. I want to follow people on Instagram who don’t make me feel bad about myself and unfortunately following many of the fitness enthusiast profiles can be quite intimidating. I don’t look like them, I don’t have the same drive like them, their lifestyle is not one I strive for. I don’t fit in here so I’m not sticking around to figure out what protein powder they use in their shakes.
I hope that within this space I’ve created that I have remained relatable to all people. My goal is to show women regardless of age, size, and lifestyle that running is possible but so is living a normal life too. I was an overweight, ex-smoker who hadn’t run since my youth, kicked out of my first running group for being too slow.
Now here’s my response to their running rejection
For brands who only work within your niche, you’re shooting yourself in the foot before you even get out the gate. My influence exceeds far beyond Instagram, it’s in the conversations I have within my DM’s, it’s my personal connection to my followers, it’s the 60+ people who clinic after clinic re-register for my SportMedBC running clinic and invite friends to join them too.
My influence is in my personal life and everywhere in between. So if you want to share your products with “runners” only, that’s your choice but there are plenty of individuals who purchase products that don’t fit within the 4 walls of the box you’ve put yourself into that could probably benefit from your product but thanks to the running rejection they’ll never hear it from me!
I hope that sharing my journey the way that I have has inspired you to tackle your fitness goals no matter how big or how small. If all of this doesn’t make me a runner enough for those brands well then that’s the kind of brand that I don’t want to work with either.