Have you subscribed to my weekly magazine yet? If not here's the link
Get access to one of this month's events here
Mel discovered running at primary school through a PE teacher who introduced her to athletics and was inspired by role models like Sally Gunnell, Cathy Cook, Seb Coe and Steve Cram.
She is asthmatic and as a child was encouraged by the family GP to be as active as possible, so started running regularly for fun, competed in local races and attended a local athletics club. After school she gained a BA Hons in Sport and Exercise Science at Birmingham University.
She has also gone on to become a qualified personal trainer and running coach, training with The Running School & Run England. Running has had a major impact on her personal life too as she met her husband and many friends through the activity.
After completing a graduate training programme with a national chain of prestige Health Clubs holding various roles from club management, marketing and corporate sales, Mel joined global Sports Marketing Agency Fast Track.
Through Fast Track she headed up the event team delivering and marketing a programme of televised athletics events across the country. This led to a successful 15-year career in marketing and events, working on event and engagement programmes for many blue chip brands
and sporting events including the Manchester Commonwealth Games and London 2012.
Most recently she headed up a global account team for Grass Roots, one of the biggest brand engagement agencies in the world.
And, as is the case with so many people, as life progressed and two children and a full-
time job kept her busy, exercise increasingly went out of the window.
This was compounded following the birth of her daughter as she seriously injured her back resulting in surgery, followed by a series of miscarriages which meant she was didn’t run for nearly three years. With a loss of confidence in her own body, she found herself unsure of how
to find her way back to running.
However, the time came when she wanted to take action. Traditional running groups didn’t work because sessions were bang in the middle of kids’ bedtimes and they were also daunting after a couple of years of no real exercise.
It struck her that if she was feeling like this after a lifetime of loving exercise, how were other Mums feeling?
So, she posted on a Mum’s Facebook group looking for a running buddy that could fit around family times. At the first meet up on a rainy November evening in 2014, 75 women turned up to join her and she had “a massive light bulb moment” where she realised she was not the only one finding it hard.
She set up a Facebook group, called it This Mum Runs and started organising weekly runs, then twice weekly runs. Within weeks the community had grown to several hundred women.
The next phase started in January 2015 when a member posted on the group saying she wanted to start running but was too scared to join a group as she was a total beginner.
Lots of other women posted to say they felt the same. And so Mel started coaching beginners to help them get started.
Helping women who lack confidence, who haven't exercised for years and don’t believe they can, is something that both personally motivates Mel and is a big focus for This Mum Runs now and in
Mel was able to make the jump to founding This Mum Runs as a business after securing a place in the award-winning business start-up accelerator programme Entrepreneurial Spark, which is sponsored by RBS and KPMG, and has provided her with the tools, training and support needed to create strong framework and fast growth. Within 6 months she had been awarded the “Acceler8’ Award” for the business demonstrating the most gro