Dee is a runner with Crohn's who has recently taken her fight against stigma to a new level as she teamed up with Runderwear to show that everybody should be able to celebrate the body they have.
I went for my first “Runderrun” during Mental Health Awareness Week, in May 2020. This is what I’ve taken to calling each run I do in my personalised Runderwear. When gyms closed due to coronavirus I was running every single day, 5k each time, and this was especially important during lockdown when there was so much going on and a lot of stressors.
Exercise has always been a great way for me to keep my mental health in check, whether that be by running or going to the gym.
I have Crohn’s, along with several members of my family including my Mum, and I have found that body changes are a big part of any treatment. This is true of treatments for many illnesses but for Crohn’s and Colitis especially; there can be changes in weight, changes in appearance from steroids, scarring, bruising easily or having a stoma. My mum has been on steroids in the past and I saw first-hand not only how it made her look different but also how this then impacted her mood. Mum becomes very self-conscious and aware of how she looks and how her body is looking.
Since a bowel resection two years ago, I’ve been following other people’s stories closely and I see how much body image can change people and affect their confidence.
That’s why this year, I’m on a mission.
My first Runderrun during Mental Health Awareness Week was a Parkrun – a group of us came together in our underwear to run 5k around a local park. I had the best time and everyone was amazingly supportive as they loved the idea of what it meant. This included Parkrun founder Paul Sinton Hewitt who thought it was brilliant.
Now, I’m completing as many runs as possible in my personalised Runderwear, to promote body positivity and encourage everyone to embrace and celebrate the body they have.
I want to show Mum that her body is something to be celebrated.
Running makes me so proud of what my body can achieve, despite its setbacks. Since my first Runderrun during Mental Health Awareness Week, I’ve completed another Parkrun in my Runderwear and plan to do many more in my local area! My first official event Runderrun will be the Kew 10k, providing it goes ahead, on 13th and 14th September. This is a double whammy, completing the event on both days that weekend and I can’t wait!
Our bodies have these marks but they are strong and resilient and each scar is a mark of strength where we have come back from being down.