Pandemic hits exhibitions worldwide

If you’ve followed my business journey you’ll not be surprised to hear I managed another “first” - the first time the National Running Show had gone digital.

After my breakthrough earlier this year when news and weather presenter on the Chris Evans Virgin Radio breakfast show, Rachel Horne gave me a shout out on National radio after she had successfully completed a dry run and had been using my Secret Whispers® Kegel Weights Kit for only 3 weeks!!  If you suffer with bladder leakage issues you will know what a major step forward that was for her and indeed for me.

The National Running Show exhibition

Having struck a chord with running enthusiasts, I started looking for suitable opportunities and found the National Running Show at the NEC.  They were so keen to have me on board, as no-one had really tackled the taboos of urinary incontinence amongst women runners and I was offered a prime position in front of the main stage and next to the ladies loos.

My Secret Whispers® stand was swamped from the moment the doors opened to the show.  So many lady runners told me they'd heard all about my Secret Whisper Kegel Kit on the Chris Evans show, and had come especially to see me and learn how they could improve their pelvic floors and prevent future incontinence issues! It was so overwhelming but such an amazing experience.

So the London National Running Show was due to take place at the weekend but sadly with the current Covid-19 circumstances prevailing, they opted to move the physical event to 2021 and in the meantime, the determined organisers explored a new way to host a virtual run show and I was one of an exclusive group of only 30 exhibitors at the Digital Running Show (DRS) last Saturday and Sunday.

Jo Tyler from the DRS team was delighted that we could join the event as our stand had been busy from start to finish back in January at the NEC and she could see Secret Whispers® Kegel Weights Kit is a valued product amongst the female running community.

Understanding the tech

So armed with the software logins on Thursday we were able to have a play to see how this was all going to work. The DRS used a platform called Hopin, which we were really impressed with. It allowed for the “Main Stage” speakers to live stream from their homes and present to all those booked. It was a fabulous lineup too, hosted by running athlete Susie Chan and featuring Derek Redmond, World & European relay champion and Jo Pavey, European Champion to name a few. 

Leak when you run? Pelvic Floor Masterclass

There was then another stream of sessions visitors could check out run by some experts in their field covering subjects like running into menopause and beyond, yoga for runners and I had the opportunity to give a “Pelvic Floor Masterclass”. I have to admit my excitement levels reached fever pitch when I secured this speaking session! Seeing my name and picture up there with all those famous people!! So, trying to tone down my excitement, I considered my session and then checked out the third area of the platform which was the exhibition “booth”. This was an area where people could come and visit you at any time during the day and request a video chat, simply ask questions in the chat function and register their interest for a discount code that we activated for the duration of the running show. 

The event covered both days and I had a presenting slot in the mornings on both Saturday and Sunday. Garth (my incredibly patient husband) and I set up my “exhibition stand” in his office along with the microphone and webcam and created a little studio - he’s hoping he gets his office back but I already have designs on it :) 

Could I overcome the nerves?

It’s funny, I can talk for England but this had me feeling quite nervous - a combination of the unknown and the number of people I’d be speaking in front of. 

Saturday came and the excitement was rising giving me massive butterflies in my stomach…… then I was given the signal that my session time was starting and I quickly fell into the flow of it. I’ve recently produced some video guides for customers and reflecting back, that really prepared me for this. Though seeing the number of people viewing the session was a little unnerving! The questions came in and it was lovely to get some interaction - but so different from engaging with people on a personal level. I’m so thankful that I’ve had previous experience of exhibitions I could draw on when referring to some of the common issues that women, and particularly running women, face. It’s the experiences that resonate and when you can share the message out there that you’re not alone, that’s when you start hearing those comments “yes, that’s the same for me too, I suffer from pelvic floor weakness” and “I thought I was the only one and was too embarrassed to admit that I leak when I run”. This is why it’s so important to get this message out there, that we need to regularly do our pelvic floor exercises, to keep us strong, to save us from embarrassing issues later on, or worse, pelvic organ prolapse. If left unchecked, ladies have found themselves facing surgery. If we can educate women from an early age, ideally 14, that these Kegel exercises need to be performed regularly to keep your pelvic organs in place, to keep us strong, to prevent bladder weakness we can see those awful statistic of over 50% women suffering with some level of prolapse reducing and prevent unnecessary surgeries too.

Raising pelvic floor awareness

I’m so delighted with the response I got to our messaging and to be able to help so many women! I sincerely thank the organisers of the Digital Running Show for providing a platform for us as exhibitors, because it has created an opportunity to continue running our businesses and for me especially, for raising awareness of the importance of a strong pelvic floor for continued health and well-being.” 

My takeaways for you this week are to

  1. Talk to your friends and family about pelvic floor exercise and see how many of them actually do them
  2. Get the conversation started so that people don’t feel it’s something they have to put up with and that although it’s common, it’s not normal
  3. Share experiences, or simply what you’ve heard - I bet you’ll be surprised how many of your friendship group are struggling in silence because they’re too embarrassed to open up about it
  4. Let’s spread the word and create national pelvic floor awareness

If you have any comments or questions please leave them below.

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