Bryony Gordon Q&A
20 Mar 2019, noon
As our 10 Weeks to 10K campaign kicks off, we catch up with the journalist Bryony Gordon, who has put together a team of amazing women to run this year’s Vitality London 10,000 in their underwear to promote body confidence and prove that physical activity is for everyone.
In 2018, Bryony and her friend Jada Sezer, mental health campaigner and plus-size model, ran the Virgin Money London Marathon to promote body confidence and prove that exercise is for everyone.
Now, Bryony and Jada want as many women as possible to join their team and sign up to run the 2019 Vitality London 10,000 on bank holiday Monday 27 May.
“We want women to know they are wonderful exactly as they are,” says Bryony. “And we want you to come join us, whatever your size, shape, age or body experience.”
You don't have to run in your underwear. Just come along, celebrate yourself and your fellow females, and have a great time. Sign up now and join Bryony, Jada and their team of inspirational women on the Start Line.
Who inspires you to run?
“I inspire myself to run. I run for the benefits it brings me: peace of mind, happiness and good mental health. I often struggle for the first 10 or 15 minutes, but then I get into the flow and I feel as though I have wings. Running makes you feel kind of magic, especially when the sun is shining, but even when the weather is horrible the feeling of fresh air on your face and getting your blood pumping and feeling alive is amazing. You think about what your body can do, rather than what your body can’t do.”
What gives you confidence?
“Running gives me body confidence. Before I started running I used to think that the opposite would be true; that running would take away any confidence I had because I wouldn’t be very good at it, but actually running makes you feel good about yourself.”
What’s your proudest running moment?
“Finishing my first marathon was my proudest running moment so far. Having not been able to run for a bus in November 2016, I went on to run the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon six months later and I genuinely loved every step of it. I trained hard and I showed myself I could do it.”
What advice would you give to your younger self?
“I’ve just written an entire book about this! I wouldn’t go back in time, because then I wouldn’t have experienced all the amazing things I’ve experienced – even though there have been some tough times. But I would definitely be kinder to myself.”
"I’d love to go for a run with Michelle Obama – although she’d probably outrun me"
If you could run with anyone, who would you run with?
“I wouldn’t run with anyone! I find it really hard to run with others, because I like going at my own pace, so I don’t want to feel like I’m slowing anyone down. So, ideally I would go by myself, but I’d love to go for a run with Michelle Obama – although she’d probably outrun me and I wouldn’t be able to chat to her because I’d be out of breath.”
What’s your greatest strength?
“My greatest strength is honesty; I need to be honest. Being honest has given me the career I have now. I’m also tenacious – when I decide to do something, I do it, like organising the photo shoot and getting all these amazing women together to take part in the Vitality London 10,000, telling them it’s going to be a lot of fun and convincing them to get involved.”
Why this group of women?
“These women have been through such different experiences. It’s great to see women with larger bodies, but all the different lived experiences are so powerful too. Deborah and Lauren [presenters of the BBC podcast You, Me and the Big C] are living with cancer; people might think that if you have terminal cancer there’s no way you could run 10K, but Deborah proves that’s not true. She’s always out doing exercise, living her best life, and I love that.
“There are so many different reasons to celebrate our bodies. As women we tend to sweat the small stuff – like how we look. We waste so much energy worrying what people think of us; imagine what we could do if we used that energy for something more positive. We’re all amazing.”
Describe your last run...
“I ran about a month ago around Wandsworth Common. I’ve been away somewhere really hot so I haven’t been able to run for a while. I lost my way a bit with running last summer when it was really hot in the UK, because I like running in the cold.”
What’s your greatest accomplishment?
“I could say writing books and creating podcasts, or running the London Marathon, but not dying on the way to sobriety is my greatest accomplishment. I got sober after the first London Marathon in 2017; it really made me realise that I had to get sober.”
How do you think you’ll feel on the Start Line in May?
“I think I’ll feel super-excited when we’re all standing on the Start Line of the Vitality London 10,000 together. We wanted to do a 10K because it’s an accessible distance, so I really hope we’ll be surrounded by hundreds of other people who want to run with us.
“When Jada and I did the Virgin Money London Marathon in our underwear we felt very alone, so it will be amazing to be surrounded by other women in their underwear. We’d love for as many women as possible to run with us in their underwear as a mass celebration of body confidence.
“It’s not about who’s the fastest, it’s about celebrating the fact that you can run. However you do, you’re still lapping the people on the sofa. There are lots of different ways to run; just being out there is enough for me. The camaraderie will be amazing. I’m really looking forward to it.”