Why I Wear Makeup When I'm Running

25/04/2016 12:55

One of my earliest memories is sitting on the edge of the bath, watching my mum put on makeup. Even as a young child, I admired the care she took over her appearance. Whatever was going on her in life - work stress, illness or money worries - she always left the house looking like a million dollars.

"It [wearing makeup] makes me feel brighter and more positive," she told me. "Ready to face the world."

Inevitably, I followed suit. I started wearing makeup every day in my early teens and, since then, I've hardly missed a day. Not even when I was recovering from a serious car accident, got pancreatitis or my daughter was born, 11 weeks early and very poorly.

It has definitely raised eyebrows. When I went to see my daughter in the ICU ward for the first time (following emergency surgery) the first thing the consultant said to me was: "Oh, I see you've got your makeup on."

I discovered early on that my mum was right: wearing makeup can help you feel more positive. Whatever life throws at me, I know the simple act of picking out something nice to wear and putting on my 'face' will help me tackle the challenge ahead. So when I started running, three years ago, it never crossed my mind to do so makeup free.

Barely a week goes by without someone commenting on the fact I wear makeup when I run. I've done the London Marathon twice and, both times, people have seemed more impressed by the fact I'm wearing lipstick in my finishers' photo than the fact I've just run 26.2 miles.


My finishers' photo, Virgin London Marathon, 2014

When the classical singer Katherine Jenkins ran the London Marathon back in 2014, she got lot of stick in the media for wearing makeup. While she claims she was only wearing a bit of mascara, I remember feeling irritated by the whole affair. Even if she was caked in the stuff, why criticise someone for wanting to show up looking their best?

A few people have implied that wearing makeup when I'm running means I must love myself a bit. That couldn't be further from the truth.

I'm the first to admit I look pretty rough without my makeup: pale, tired and washed-out - and that's exactly how I feel inside. The minute I put my 'face' on, I feel brighter, more positive and energetic. So the idea of scrubbing my face clean of makeup to do an activity I want to do well just doesn't make sense to me at all.

I've no idea if it makes me run faster (maybe a little experiment is in order), but as my fellow runners will tell you, being fully made up doesn't stop me being determined and focused on my goals.

I've run, waist deep, through muddy ditches, hauled myself over scramble nets and recently completed a 10k race in a full-on hailstorm (others gave up - I didn't) - all with a full face of make up. And - contrary to all the beauty advice on the matter - wearing makeup when I'm working out, hasn't made me spotty. In fact, I rarely get spots at all.

Yeah, I sometimes get the odd 'panda eye' when it's raining and a bit of teasing from my fellow runners. But I think I can live with that.


Me and my lovely mum at my 40th birthday party