International Women’s Day: How Sport Helped Me To Become Active Fusion Director
“I think skills developed through sport are transferrable to all areas of life and the more you practice, the better you get.”
These are the words of Lindsy James as she explains how sport – specifically running – helped her to become the Director of Active Fusion and the best version of herself.
At the first glance, Lindsy comes across as effortlessly confident and self-assured, but still unassuming. Running has played a big part in that.
Lindsy never thought she was any good at sport during her time at school.
Cross-country nearly “killed her”, competition was “scary” and a teacher’s comment about her body didn’t make Lindsy feel she was destined to excel within sport.
But clearly, she was resilient, as none of these experiences fazed her as she turned to exercise for enjoyment and stress-relief throughout her university years.
It was by chance she found running after doing well in a race she entered on a whim and being encouraged to join a running club.
Through running she unearthed a determination and strength that she applied to her professional career.
In doing so, she became increasingly aware that sport could provide young people with a platform to shine outside of their studies. This message is strongly reflected in Active Fusion’s message to young people to “be the best they can be.”
“I think running gives me some of my identity and I compare running to many things in my professional career. Running an organisation is all around ambition, drive, goal setting and resilience,” she said.
Lindsy sadly and unexpectedly lost her mum to cancer during her pregnancy with her son Archie and at times found having a new baby isolating having previously been so career-focussed.
She said: “Having Archie was one of the best and most challenging times of my life.
“Running was my outlet and I needed something challenging to focus on, which would still allow me time with my son. I did some research and found out that the half-marathon world record whilst pushing a buggy was one-hour-and-thirty-minutes.
“I stuck to a dedicated running programme. It was brutal pushing the buggy in winter with Archie wrapped up in hundreds of layers. I broke the record in one-hour-twenty-seven-minutes and donated the money I’d raised to a local cancer charity.”
During this time Lindsy wrote a blog about her experiences and brought together an online community of mums who wanted to stay active.
“Sport can develop self-esteem and resilience and help women to feel part of something through team relationships,” she said.
However, she emphasised that she might not have dealt with her experience as a new mum so positively had it not been for the strong role model she found her own mother to be.
She said: “My mum was my role model. She was at times a single mum raising two young girls, running a business and retraining herself in skills that she really struggled with. I’ve realised how at times she must have felt alone and scared, but that she never gave up. I think if I can emulate that then I can’t go far wrong.”
Lindsy added that she had sport and a strong role model to help her navigate her way through difficult times in her life, but that she worries about the extreme extent of the pressures placed on young people today.
“I do worry about the amount of pressure today’s generation of young people are under,” she said.
“Young girls are picking up on and becoming anxious about how they look due to the rise of social media and the ability they have to compare themselves.
“There is a lot of pressure on women to look a certain way, behave a certain way and to be successful.
“My advice to my younger self and to young women now would be to not be hard on yourself and to remember you can make anything happen if you believe in yourself.”