These girls really show they can!

Joanne Baldwin
Joanne Baldwin

The amazing success of Sport England’s campaign to get more women into sport should be celebrated by everyone.

This Girl Can, set up two years ago, has now reported that it believes over 7.2m women are now actively taking part in sport on a regular basis, an increase of over 250,000.

I have followed the campaign since it was launched, partly as old friend and former colleague Joanne Baldwin was chosen as one of the poster girls of the campaign.

Joanne’s own story has been well documented and has proved to be the inspiration behind many other women taking up sports of many kinds at differing levels.

The gyms I use and the races I run now attract many more women than they ever have done in the past.

Parkruns attract more women now than they were doing two years ago.

Couch to 5k running programmes which help hundreds, if not thousands of people, take their first steps back towards fitness also attract a large proportion of women.

Many of them would have told you, a year ago, that they couldn’t run a single step.

Many of the self same ladies are now running 10k races in very good times, are stepping up to half marathons and even eyeing up full marathons in the near future.

All these are excellent steps towards a healthier country and This Girl Can has been an incredible campaign.

Over seven million women regularly taking exercise is a truly remarkable outcome.

But the other thing I have noticed since the campaign was launched is the incredible number of women who now actively support events as volunteers.

This used to be the domain of former players and games teachers.

Now many of the ladies attracted into sport over the last two years are already acting as volunteers in a multitude of capacities and that can only be a sign of good things to come for future generations.