Apparently, I hate myself because I started off this morning looking at reddit. What was near the top of my feed? This post about Mirna Valerio. For those who don't know, Mirna is the author of Fat Girl Running and has completed dozens of marathons, from half to ultras. And instead of celebrating someone who is doing great outreach for the sport of running, r/running decided to fat-shame her. The very top comment complains about her slow pace in one race and then says:
Good on her for doing what she likes, exploring the outdoors, and hopefully inspiring plenty of people to take up running/fitness, but I hesitate to consider her (as she is now) an "athlete" or even call her close to being fit.
Pardon me, but what the fuck is wrong with people. Even if she is slower, are hikers not athletes? I also looked at her times and one of her faster half marathons on ultrasignup was 2:45, which equates to 12:37/mile. For a trail half, that's a damn good pace! My trail race paces are between 10-13min/mile, so I'm pretty confident that Mirna could crush me... and I would definitely consider myself an amateur athlete, or at minimum "fit". But that is all beside the point.
Mirna is doing a great thing because she's showing that you can be fat and active and that's ok! I'm guessing most people on r/running that were making these comments have never been fat because, if they had, they would know how hard it is to start working out. I went running with one of my larger friends a few times and she ended up stopping, partly because a random guy yelled "you're fat!" at us while we were running. How do you motivate yourself to keep going when that happens?
I also think that Mirna is an inspiration to everyone. Even if she is walking a lot of those races, those distances are no joke! Most people train for months just to do a single 60-mile 3-day walk for breast cancer. Mirna is doing that repeatedly... and not walking the whole time. It enrages me that people are trying to tear her down because she's getting attention.
TL;DR Don't judge people based on their body type and absolutely, under no circumstances, should you fat-shame people at all, especially while they are working out.