“Thanks for caring but definitely something I’m not shy to talk about because it’s the reality of females in sport.” This was Emma’s direct response to the comment, which has since been deleted.
Emma took to her own Instagram page to share the photo. “This is true female sport and the more barriers we can break through the better,” she wrote.
“If you wrote to me saying 99% of the women you know would be mortified at this then that is exactly why I am sharing this, because there really is nothing wrong. It’s natural and coming from eating issues as an endurance runner when I was growing up where I didn’t have my period, I now see it as beautiful.”
The menstrual cycle as a sign of health
At Women’s Running, we often take the opportunity to celebrate the menstrual cycle. Unfortunately for a lot of female athletes, disordered eating and conditions such as RED-S can stop the reproductive system from functioning, resulting in a loss of period.
That’s why it’s so important to celebrate having our periods, even if they can be an inconvenience when racing and trying to perform in sport.
Sports Performance Mentor Kate Gray highlighted this issue in sharing the photo on her own Instagram.
“An elite (or any) athlete having their period is something to be CELEBRATED,” she wrote. “Many athletes struggle with Amenorrhea or RED-S, it’s often a quite a battle too. Let’s not add to an archaic culture where loss of a period was celebrated.”
Sparking an important discussion
After sharing the photo on her own account, Emma received hundreds of positive comments.
“I just saw this and honestly, I love your response!” said one social media user. “I think we need to talk a lot more about periods. It’s natural and not something to be ashamed of.”
“Women are awesome! The extra stuff you all have to deal with in life proves how badass all of you are,” said another. “And honestly if I didn’t read your caption I would’ve never noticed.”
Emma’s closing statement sends a message of unity and empowerment to women in sport.
“So if you have a photo like this, save it, cherish it, remember how you performed on a tough day because one day you might just be able to help someone else with it.”
Want more? Here’s everything you need to know about running and hormones.