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Runners invited to run 10km in their knickers to celebrate body positivity

The campaigners taking part in the 10km run for mental health awareness. Credit: Vitality London 10,000

The Celebrate You team are inviting runners to complete the Vitality London 10,000 run in their underwear, with the hopes to inspire others to be proud of what their bodies can do.

The team includes Loose Women presenter Andrea McLean, The Great British Sewing Bee’s Esme Young and author Giovanna Fletcher.

The 10km (6.2 mile) marathon - taking place on May 27th - starts at The Mall and finishes opposite Buckingham Palace.

Runners will pass famous landmarks including Nelson’s Column, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

Andrea McLean will be among the Celebrate You runners. Credit: Vitality London 10,000/PA

While most runners will be wearing a little more than just knickers and a supportive bra, some of the Celebrate You team will be wearing sports underwear to show that fitness is for everyone, whatever their shape.

The team also includes plus size model and mental health campaigner Jada Sezer, who completed the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon in underwear alongside her friend, journalist Bryony Gordon.

Jada Sezer is part of the Celebrate You team. Credit: Vitality London 10,000/PA

Sezer says the event will be “incredible” and is a good chance for people to try running in a “safe space” without feeling intimidated.

“You don’t have to run. You can walk, skip, hop. For someone starting that journey it’s a really good stepping stone,” she told the Press Association.

She said Celebrate You is about changing people’s perceptions about what healthy bodies can and should be like: “We just want to make a stand that fitness looks different on everyone.”

Although tourists may be surprised to see women running in a sports bra and knickers during the bank holiday Monday race, Sezer said it is similar to what some elite female runners wear except “we have got a lot more body hanging out” and so it is considered “revealing”.

Sezer says women should celebrate their shape. Credit: Vitality London 10,000/PA

Sezer, 30, from west London, said she wore similar dresses to her peers when she was younger but got more attention because her breasts and bum were larger.

“Why can’t we just see women’s shapes as functional and not sexualised?” she added.

Sezer, who has an MA in child psychology, was approached by modelling agencies after she posted photos of herself on Instagram to encourage young girls to celebrate their shape.

She said exercise makes her calm, clears her head and energises her, but weight loss isn't her main motivation and suggests that should not be anyone’s main reason for running.

“Why are you doing this? If losing weight is to fit in with what society thinks you should look like then who cares?" she said.

Jada Sezer at the Kong: Skull Island European premiere at Cineworld Leicester Square, London. Credit: Chris Ratcliffe/PA

Speaking to the Press Association during Mental Health Awareness Week, Sezer, who has worked with YoungMinds and The Prince’s Trust, said running helps her to feel: “I have got this”.

Sezer said she is thankful to social media for giving her a career and “a voice” and believes it can be a good tool for teaching young people that everyone is different.

“With social media you can see a better range. People are braver. They are able to find their tribe with a hashtag.

“If you don’t see it, how do you know to be it?”

Jada Sezer's Instagram is peppered with positive and inspirational content. Credit: Instagram: @jadasezer

However, Sezer regularly takes a break from social media, goes on “unfollow sprees” or temporarily deletes apps to break the habit.

She suggests others limit the time they spend looking at other people’s perfect looking lives on “aspirational” apps like Instagram where “it seems like everyone is wealthy and happily married with clean, well behaved children”.

“Live a little bit more in the real world not the online world,” she advised.

To sign up to run the Vitality London 10,000 on Monday May 27, sign up here before 5pm on Friday May 17. You don’t have to run in your underwear.