Running can be a solitary activity, and with a third of women receiving some form of harassment while jogging on their own, some women can be put off getting out of the starting blocks.
A poll by England Athletics also revealed that a large proportion of women feel anxious when running alone, with nearly half of those surveyed stating that this is due to personal safety concerns.
Of those who had experienced harassment, shouting and car horns beeped by passing motorists were the most common.
But RunTogether, a national programme from England Athletics to get more people jogging regularly, aims to erase this via its This Girl Can Run campaign.
Sam Mollaghan (pictured bottom right), RunTogether ambassador and face of the This Girl Can Run campaign, says: “I have heard so many stories from both men and women through my running communities, comments like, ‘Run Forest run’, ‘Can’t you go faster’, ‘Run back to my place?’ and countless observations about our fitness and physiques.
“Even my own daughter called me to say she had been heckled recently whilst out on a run, just around her local area.
“This experience made her think twice about what she wears whilst running.
“It’s not right, we should all be able to run in whatever makes us comfortable, without fear of judgement, and as her mum it’s upsetting that she should have to be subjected to these comments for another person’s moment of ignorance.
“It saddens me that runners, both men and women, are subject to these types of comments when they are just trying to do something to improve their health and happiness.
“We all have to start somewhere, and for the majority of us that’s not in the most confident, lycra-clad place. Before passing comment, why don’t you try join us instead?
“When I started running, I tried not to worry about what other people thought of me, but I completely empathise with how many runners feel anxious when running alone. You can’t let it stop you.
“I turned all negativity on its head when I did the ‘I jiggle, therefore I am’ This Girl Can Run campaign and the positive response I got from that just lifted me further, and made sure I didn’t stop.”
The RunTogether website provides instant access to a rapidly growing network of multiple local running groups in Lancashire.
• Visit www.runtogether.co.uk for more information and to find your local RunTogether group.