Craig and Michelle Lewis Focus On Creating Inclusive Communities

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My guests today are a husband and wife duo that have weaved running into the fabric of their lives both personally and professionally.

Between the races they’ve run, hurdles overcome, and launching their own podcast, there’s no doubt we will have more than a few things to talk about today.

I am looking forward to going a few easy miles with Craig and Michelle Lewis today.

Craig and Michelle Lewis

Exploring New Areas On Foot

According to Craig and Michelle Lewis, the best way to explore new places is through running.

They have both run quite a few races over the years and have differing opinions about the best distance to race.

Craig prefers the half marathon, but Michelle prefers a full one.

Michelle has completed 17 marathons, with her 18th one set to be the London marathon in 2023.

She will be participating as a charity runner for the World Cancer Research Fund.

Thus far, Michelle has only completed one race in the United States but hopes to travel to run more races in the future.

Michelle and Craig Lewis

Running In Her Genes

As a little girl, Michelle remembers watching and supporting her dad as he ran marathons.

At the time, she had no urge to become a runner, but she still looked up to her dad as a role model.

Running became more of a fixture in her life when she was in school.

Michelle competed in track events and leaned towards longer distances.

Though running has been in her life from a young age, Michelle didn’t start taking running seriously until around the age of 38.

Craig was the first one out of the two of them to first start running.

He completed his first marathon in 2001, and it was then that Michelle got inspired to take her running further.

Around the same time, Michelle accepted the fact that she may never be able to conceive a child which also influenced her running story.

Shaping Her Future

After several years of failed IVF attempts, Michelle was forced to have a hysterectomy.

Those events had brought Michelle to a dark place.

Running, rescuing animals, and starting a blog were some of the things that began to lift her from the darkness.

While on a trip to Spain, a friend that she looked up to asked her what she wanted to do in life.

Michelle was shocked when her immediate answer was that she wanted to run a marathon.

She slowly began to incorporate more running into her life while also signing up for a half marathon to give herself a goal.

Michelle signed up as a charity runner for an organization that was close to her heart.

Upon completing the half marathon, Michelle went on to finish a marathon one year later.

Running For More Than Herself

Over the years, Michelle has raised thousands of pounds for various charities.

Running has completely changed her life, along with the lives of those that she has raised money for.

Michelle was committed to continuing to do good with her running.

She got involved with Park Run, which is an organization focusing on diversity in all aspects while bringing people together through activity.

Her involvement with Park Run opened her eyes to what really brought her joy.

Michelle wasn’t entirely content with her office job which prompted her to take a leap of faith and quit her job.

Currently, she works full-time as a coach and personal trainer

She made the best of her situation and is much happier with her day-to-day life.

A Bucket List Item

Craig has been running from a young age, but at that time he typically only did it to stay in shape for other sports.

Though he didn’t always love running, he was a natural at it.

As an adult, he decided to sign up for a marathon as a bucket list item.

Craig admitted to making all the rookie mistakes leading up to the race.

He was able to successfully complete the marathon and has since finished another one as well.

Craig dealt with reoccurring injuries for a few years before he realized that running too fast too often was the culprit.

As a result of slowing down, he ultimately got faster and experienced fewer injuries.

Since the pandemic, he has begun to rely on running as a way to boost his mental health.

Health Scare

Craig has always been active and took it for granted until he experienced a health scare.

At the age of 44, Craig was running some of his highest mileage ever.

Around that time, he began to feel chest pain and was rushed to the hospital.

Craig was diagnosed with pericarditis, which is inflammation around the pericardial sac which surrounds the heart.

The condition is typically caused by a virus and is treated with anti-inflammatories and rest.

His recovery has been smooth and he is almost back up to running a 10k.

Pericarditis can be recurrent, therefore Craig appreciates running more than ever before.

Step Forward With Lewis

Craig and Michelle enjoyed giving back to the running community.

They were looking for ways to do even more and that is how Step Forward With Lewis was created.

Step Forward With Lewis began as a running club catering to all abilities.

Since its inception, it has since transformed into a full-time business offering personal training, various classes, and traditional run training.

From their business also came the launch of their podcast- Running Tales.

Inclusivity is the basis of everything they do.

Michelle and Craig Lewis and Step Forward With Lewis Group

Running Tales

Craig spent many years of his life as a journalist for the BBC.

His background set the grounds for his idea to begin a podcast.

He and Michelle have met many people over the years through running and each person has a unique story.

In the initial stages of the podcast, they primarily spoke with ParkRun members.

Over time their guests have evolved to include many more people from all walks of life.

Craig and Michelle have found that no two stories are ever the same and they always learn something new.

In working with people of all abilities Michelle has some advice:

  • Be respectful of wheelchair users in races and don’t assume they want help or to be pushed.
  • Wheelchair athletes are doing the race for the same reasons as anyone else.
  • Don’t assume all runners can hear you. Deaf or hearing-impaired runners look the same as everyone else.
  • Only help another runner if asked, otherwise support them in ways you would support anyone else.

Mentioned In This Episode:

Stay connected with Craig by following him on Instagram and/or Twitter. Follow Michelle on her Step Forward With Lewis Instagram and Twitter pages.

Craig and Michelle Lewis created Step Forward With Lewis as a way to combine inclusivity and fitness. Fitness should be accessible to all regardless of ability. Share on X

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