‘I don’t know how I would have got through it without running’: Rainbow Running Club unites women affected by infertility and baby loss

A running club has united hundreds of women who have experienced infertility or the loss of a baby.

The Rainbow Running and Yoga Club recently celebrated its first anniversary and has gone from strength-to-strength, with groups sprouting up throughout the country.

The club’s physical meetings have been temporarily on hold due to the pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped members joining virtual classes of yoga, mindfulness and meditation.

The group’s founder, Lucy, shared how she came to form the community.

“I started running in March last year after five years of trying to have babies, which resulted in three miscarriages and a round of IVF,’ she told Running Mums. “Along the way, I lost myself and who I was, and I needed to do something to pick myself up after our last miscarriage.

“I decided to start running to try to feel better about my body,” she said. “There’s a real battle when you go through infertility or loss, when you feel like your body’s failing you, so you’re not really best friends with each other.”

Lucy tackled a Couch to 5k plan and was surprised at the impact running had on her life.

“It helped me immensely, mentally and physically,” she said. “I’ve never been someone who was sporty or enjoyed exercise, but all of a sudden I found something I loved – the feeling I got from running and that high, it was infectious and that kept me going.

“Slowly I got to 5k and it was such a euphoric moment and it made me feel so much better.”

Lucy continued enjoy the benefits of running and signed up to her first half marathon. She also decided to set up a club to help other women discover the benefits of the sport, and to bring together a community of people who understand the struggles she faced.

The first meeting attracted 25 women, and since then its popularity has grown, with hundreds of women joining Rainbow runs throughout the country. The virtual classes have also been popular, with women taking part throughout the world.

Rainbow Running Club group

“[The demand] really puts it into perspective how many people this affects, it’s just horrendous, but it’s just lovely that we can all be together to support each other,” Lucy said. “I didn’t realise when I started just how much it would help to be able to talk to other people who get it.”

Lucy stressed that women thinking of joining the club do not need to be experienced runners.

“We see on the day how everyone is feeling and it’s around half an hour, but we can run or walk or jog, or all three, no pressure,” she said. “[The group is for] anybody who’s trying to conceive, and it hasn’t gone to plan or is taking longer than you would hope, or anyone who has lost a baby at any stage of the journey.”

Those looking to join the club can find their local group at rainbowrunningclub.co.uk, and if there isn’t a group nearby, and they would be interesting in launching one, they can contact Lucy to discuss this opportunity. Women can even join the virtual classes anonymously if they wish, so there are many ways they can connect with the community.

Lucy said she was excited for the future of the club and was looking forward to reinstating the physical running groups, and running and yoga retreats.

“I don’t know how I would have got through it without running,” she added. “Finding this amazing community has helped me more than I could have ever imagined. Running has totally transformed my mood and made a huge difference.”

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