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Mum's new business set to be a runaway success

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Written by: Gavin Thompson | Posted 05 January 2016 17:27

Mum's new business set to be a runaway success
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A Bristol mum-of-two who started a Facebook page aimed at finding other local mums to run with has launched a business after the online community became a runaway success.

Mel Bound, 42, from Bristol, first created the page This Mum Runs in September 2014 to reach out to other parents who were struggling to find the time and confidence to get into fitness after having children.

Within days, hundreds of mums had joined up and there are now more than 1,300 members in Bristol alone. This Mum Runs has also recently launched a group in Bath with more imminently planned across the West Country in Somerset and Devon.

Mel has been able to make the jump to founding This Mum Runs as a business after she successfully secured funding from Run England and Bath and North East Somerset Council.

This enabled her to scale quickly and build a team of 19 coaches, which will grow to more than 50 coaches in spring this year.

This Mum Runs also secured a place in the award-winning business start-up accelerator programme Entrepreneurial Spark, which is sponsored by RBS and KPMG.

And now she’s been nominated for the Bristol and Bath Women in Business Awards, held by the Bristol Post and Bath Chronicle in association with the University of the West of England.

See the full list of categories for the Bristol and Bath Women in Business Awards here.

Mel, who has left her job as global account director with an international brand engagement agency to concentrate on the new business full time, said: “I have been blown away by the response to This Mum Runs.

“The community continues to grow every day and there are so many amazing stories of personal achievement and new friendships that have developed.

“In 2015, the group became involved with the Bristol Girls Can campaign, part of Sport England’s This Girl Can, that was all about taking the gym bunny perception out of fitness and engaging with real women.

“It was around about then that things started to click and I realised there was genuine enthusiasm for grassroots organisations to help people – and women in particular – so they could take a bit more control of their own fitness.
“Running is particularly good because all you need is a pair of trainers and a sports bra and you’re off.”

The vision for the newly-formed business is to remove the many barriers for women to start running and inspire and encourage them to get their trainers on and head out the door.
This is done through a combination of free social runs and paid-for programmes and coaching, including a ‘Couch to 5K’ for beginners.

A core reason the concept has gained popularity is that the timing of traditional running groups do not work for mums as sessions happen at children’s bedtime.

In fact, mums cite lack of time in general as being the greatest barrier to participation. A This Mum Runs survey of 225 Bristol mums found that more than three quarters (70 per cent) feel they are too busy to get out and run even though they want to, while four in ten struggle with juggling childcare and time to exercise.

Within weeks of the group being live, Mel, who has a BA Hons in Sport and Exercise Science and is a qualified personal trainer, found herself organising runs in various locations across Bristol and leading couch-to-5K courses.

Mel added: “Mums tend to put their own needs last and statistics show women still do significantly less exercise than men. Clearly this is something that needs to change for everyone’s benefit.”

Mel thinks that the concept also goes beyond running. She said: “The whole community, while based around running, is also one that creates headspace and time for women to put the worries of the day to one side.

“It also creates friendships and encourages a freedom and confidence that helps people to believe they can achieve what they want – all they need to do is take that first step.”

Enter the Bristol and Bath Women in Business Awards 2016 here.

Pictured: This Mum Runs founder Mel Bound, photo by Alice Hendy

Bristol and Bath Women in Business 2016

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