Coercive behaviour became a crime in the UK in 2015. It took until 2018 to make the first successful conviction (an eighteen-month prison sentence).
But back in 2000, our Rachel (early 30s) had no idea what coercive behaviour was. She was too busy having a boss time as a podium dancer at the Pleaseuredrome, Birkenhead.
But fast forward a few years and she’s married to her childhood sweetheart, and closet nobhead, Trevor, with the kids she’s always dreamed of but the body she’s always dreaded. To top it all, the moment they’re married, Trevor begins to show his true controlling colours and, unaware she is being gaslighted, Rachel blames herself and spirals into depression.
Until she discovers running.
Buzzing from this epiphany, the ‘Forrest Gump of The Mersey’ is derided by Trevor but catches the attention of some local women, all struggling and vulnerable in their own ways.
These disparate women soon persuade Rachel to lead them in a running club, to get a bit of whatever she’s on, and they all eventually discover more than the mere chance to shed a few pounds in this burgeoning sisterhood.
But as the women set their sights on a marathon, the greatest race will be against the husbands who conspire to keep them down.
A poignant memoir, which deals with the dark and many faces of domestic abuse with a refreshing lightness of touch unique to this working class woman from The Wirral, this is an uplifting story of the healing to be found in community, and the corners we can turn when we push ourselves across the line.
How one woman’s fight for mental health inspired a running revolution