Steph and Laura’s huge move to protect women while running

A few months from 2024 and it’s already new fitness trend has taken the country by storm.

Run clubs have started popping up all over Australia with people of all ages, regardless of experience or ability, signing up in droves.

“We think it’s the community aspect that really appeals to everyone,” KICRUN co-founders Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw tell 9honey Coach.

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Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw created their own clubs with New Balance. (Supplied)

“It’s really about the opportunity to meet and do something together in a safe, inclusive and fun environment,” they say.

Smith and Henshaw co-founded their own inclusive running club KICRUN in partnership with New Balance as an accessible space for women and runners of all abilities.

“Running should no longer be about marathons and smashing PBs, but about having fun,” they share, adding that their club has no criteria or expectations.

The co-founders of KICRUN recently conducted their own survey of over 5,000 women.

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In the survey, they found that one in five women have signed up for a running club or fun run with motivation, a sense of community and a better mood being the main contributors.

“Running clubs tend to be male-dominated or aligned with an upcoming half/full marathon, with a focus on training and hitting PBs,” the duo add.

Together with new balanceour KICRUN Clubs are different because they are inclusive, made for runners of all levels.”

On the other hand, the study found one of the things that held almost half of the women back.

According to the findings, 41 per cent of Australian women fear they are not fast enough to join and keep up with the most skilled runners, while others felt intimidated.

Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw
The duo has created an inclusive space for women to run. (Supplied)

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But KICRUN’s co-founders see running “slower” as a positive thing.

Slow running has become a popular trend on social media with influencers encouraging runners to run at their own pace, no matter how slow.

“At Kic, we believe that your pace does not define your ability to run, and the number one running tip we give to our running community is to slow down,” they say.

“Perhaps a better way to think of ‘slow running’ is ‘easy running,’ or running at a pace that you feel you can easily maintain for a long period of time,” they suggest.

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According to Henshaw, who is a long-time advocate of the benefits of running, the tendency to run slowly is more about “carefully tuning into your body.”

“Everyone’s running goals will be different, so we suggest you focus on your ‘why’ for running,” she says.

“Are you running for your mental health or training for an event? Whatever it is, it might be a good idea to come back to that ‘why’ and pace yourself.”

One of the benefits of slowing down your running pace is actually reducing the chance of injury by not exercising the body that the duo reveals.

Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw
The duo say that slow running can be important in recovering from an injury. (Supplied)

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Also, slowing everything down can be a big part of recovering from an injury and getting back into exercise, something Henshaw, who was injured last year, can attest to.

“We often focus a lot on the end goal and our past performances when we’re injured and getting back strong,” says Henshaw.

“We end up focusing a lot on the distance we want to run, our old PBs and other people’s pace compared to our own.”

Instead, the fitness guru suggests celebrating your personal journey when you return to running after an injury.

“We can forget to actually enjoy the process of achieving our goals and building our strength back up!” he tells 9honey Coach.

“It’s resilience and self-belief, the good things that only come out of these tough times.”

“Whether it’s a 5-minute comeback or running 1km longer than the last time, celebrating each of these victories can help make the healing journey more enjoyable.”

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