The Slow AF Run Club Welcomes YOU to the Back of the Pack with Martinus Evans (Episode #146)
When did society decide that people with larger bodies can’t possibly be “fit,” and create systems that exclude them from most fitness communities? Martinus Evans is flipping all those notions upside down and providing a rapidly growing community with insight and inspiration. At 300 pounds he has run 8 marathons, is a certified running coach, and has 95K followers on Instagram. And today, we will learn why the joy in fitness activities is for everyone, in every kind of body.
About Our Guest:
The standard body-type narratives for almost every sport or fitness activity are breaking down. People who used to think that various fitness activities were not for them—because they were too “fat,” too short, too tall, too inflexible, etc—are now diving in, wholeheartedly. And new landscapes are opening that will be good for everyone.
Have you noticed this buzz on the periphery of various fitness communities, with folks of all body types joining in? People who used to think fitness is not for them are having fun becoming active, and are outspoken about the potential in finding their sport at any size.
Martinus Evans is one of the extraordinary pioneering people, leading an expanding community in that light. He’s helping to open up new possibilities for larger bodied people in the running world, and the world is starting to take notice.
In the last few years, he’s been on the cover of Runner’s World and The New York Times. He has even posed nude for Men’s Health magazine and appeared in an Adidas ad. Now, he has founded the Slow AF Run Club, a community of over 16,000 members worldwide, for which he’s been celebrated in The New York Post, CBC, and on Good Morning America.
And as he nears 100,000 followers on Instagram—@300poundsandrunning—it’s simple to see that the time has come for a voice to arise for the “back-of-the-pack” running community and size-inclusivity in general.
In this interview, Martinus shares fresh perspectives that can help all of us break out of our limiting beliefs about fitness and how they relate to our particular body types. His message is not confined to folks who are heavy, but is for everyone who has ever felt limited by their weight, height, flexibility, athleticism, or body in any way.
He helps us all know what to say next to ourselves AFTER we hear the voice inside our heads saying, “Oh, I can’t do this… I need to lose weight (or do something else) first.”
His insights unburden us in so much of that kind of mental chatter.
Martinus points out, “To other people, my weight and body are tied to my identity. For me, my identity is more tied to running and providing joy and inspiration to people who’ve been told they can’t do it. I give them all the reasons why they can.”
Martinus’s story is a compelling one, all too familiar to people with larger bodies. In June 2012, when he weighed nearly 400 pounds, he visited a doctor about a hip injury after an automobile accident and the doctor seemed uninterested in talking about anything else but his weight. The doctor’s dismissive, demoralizing comments lit a spark in Martinus, and his response to the doctor was that he planned to start running marathons.
After training for 16 weeks, he entered the Detroit Marathon in October 2013.
Since then, he’s also coached hundreds of runners through the Slow AF Run Club and authored the book Slow AF Run Club: The Ultimate Guide for Anybody Who Wants to Run. When he’s not running races around the world, he enjoys speaking passionately about issues related to size-inclusivity, mindset, DEI, and mental health.
I found another interview with Martinus where he says something that many of us can relate to in our own particular life details:
[quote] “ALL MY LIFE, I had to fight. From when this girl in first grade told me my titties were bigger than hers up until my junior year in high school when I played football, it sucked to be big. But, once I started playing football, my body became a commodity for sports, so I was “the man” to a certain extent. I went from being big fatty to being big sexy. But taking my shirt off around other players in the locker room still made me self-conscious. When I got a car, I would change clothes in my car. Deep down, I believed that being fat meant I was worthless. I felt like my thoughts, feelings and emotions were invalid―I was fat, and it was my fault.”
I could definitely plug my own details into that story and relate. I have struggled with my genetics for being a “big girl” since I was a child and the influencer aptly named “Twiggy” became the gold standard for women’s body-types.
Here’s another story―something that happened in Martinus’s first race―that many of us can relate to:
“A little more than halfway through the marathon, a bus that picks up people along the way―asking if they’re injured or things of that sort―came by, and the bus driver said to me, “Hey, big man, you need a ride?” I was like, “No, I’m good.” Then after every mile, he’d come back asking, “Hey, why don’t you come on here, big guy? I can take you to the finish line.”
“He was throwing seeds of doubt in my head.
“Finally, at around mile 25 or 26, the guy came back saying, “Hey, I’ll take you to the finish line.” I remember going off on him like, “Yo, I’m only a mile away from the finish line. Why the f**k would I get on the bus?”
“Then he said something like, “I’m just trying to help your fat ass out.”
“I finished the marathon and when I crossed the finish line, I was euphoric. I felt unstoppable, finally acknowledging my body’s strength. This feeling couldn’t be reduced by any negative comment, so I completed more races, proving to myself that I could do anything, regardless of my size. I stopped counting how many more races I’ve run after 100.
“I went from big fatty to big sexy.”
And those are just two of the countless stories of transformation that await us all.
Martinus’s interview will breathe life into that spark of an impulse you’ve been having to start biking, walking, swimming, or picking up a childhood sport that you once loved.
I recommend you listen to this one by first setting aside the limiting beliefs that people and society might have laid on you and dreaming big… imagine the beauty and wonder of the body you have and celebrate the fact that you can start now, enjoying the delight in movement of any kind.
00:00 Intro & Welcome
00:53 Martinus’s Journey
- Martinus’s background, accomplishments, and media coverage.
- Pivotal moment: encounter with a doctor leading to his running journey.
- Creation of the Slow AF Run Club and size-inclusive clothing brand.
- Unexpected rise to influence and media recognition.
09:20 Running Slow AF
- Inspiring and motivating others through Martinus’s journey.
- The power of sharing personal stories for positive change.
15:45 Mental Chatter
- Martinus’s insights on mental chatter and self-belief.
- Practicing delusional self-belief to pursue goals.
- Sports as an allegory for life.
- Applying lessons from running to other aspects of life.
23:28 The Slow AF Run Club
- Embracing body positivity and enjoying running.
- Addressing stereotypes in the fitness industry.
- Impact on breaking misconceptions and changing perceptions.
- Martinus’s message of body positivity and joy of running.
35:10 Diet Culture Mental Chatter
- Speculating on reporting on diet culture and size inclusivity.
- Observations on size inclusivity progress in sports gear.
- Advice for self-belief and parenting big-sized individuals.
- Reflecting on peak moments and external validation.
- Promoting self-acceptance and challenging societal norms.
- Details about the “Slow AF Run Club” book and app.
- Upcoming nonprofit launch for free physical activity.
- Conclusion and thank you message to the audience.
39:08 Advice for Your Younger Self
- Plus size men are underrepresented in the media.
- The world can be mean.
- Parents’ role in body positivity.
44:50 Peak Moments
- The ‘we shall see’ mentality.
- Coaching other runners inspired Martinus to write his book
50:13 What Do You Wish People Knew?
- Somebody made all of this up.
- Question the rules that people made up.