I Run Because…
I run because 18 months ago I didn’t and I’ve seen the positive impact it’s had. I run because I used to be an active ‘non runner’ – to prove to myself I could change, and it’s taught me the importance of continuing to try new things that put me out my comfort zone. But really, I started to run because I had to. Because a group of friends suggested we all sign up to a 10K and it sounded like fun at the time. Because of my determination (which also meant I was the only one to enter in the end…)
I run because during that first race, I didn’t want to embarrass myself, or walk at any point as when I set my mind to something, it has to be achieved at 100%. Because I remember panicking to my housemate that my longest run/walk to date was just under half the 6 miles I was running the following day, but the sense of achievement I felt after I hobbled to complete it was so worth it that I’ve since competed with myself to beat my times on two further 10kms and a half marathon. Because running is addictive and a good thing to be addicted to. Because I never used to truly understand the ‘runners high’ before I started myself. I run because I can set myself goals on a regular basis and see improvements, and I can be competitive. I run because I know it makes me physically and mentally stronger and it doesn’t cost a penny. Because I know that I’ll always feel better after running, no matter how much is on my mind, or how bad of a day I feel I’ve had, when I get back my head is always clearer, more focused and positive. Because sometimes it gives me the headspace to come up with the answer to problems and sometimes does the opposite and allows me to think about nothing but the path ahead, getting to the next lamppost or reaching the finish line.
I run because it allows me to be outside and sometimes forget I live in a fast-paced city, helps me to discover new places I didn’t know were just around the corner and find new coffee shops or hidden parks I didn’t know existed. It helps me to notice the little things more – particularly during lockdown – rainbows or messages of hope on neighbours windows, the early morning sunrises I’d normally miss, lyrics I don’t normally listen to on my soundtrack, and the new people I get chatting to during Saturday morning parkruns (or nonparkruns as they are known currently). I run because it gives me routine, structure to my day and week and time to myself. I run because I read Jog On recently – a book by Bella Mackie that made so much sense to me – and that I’d urge any non runners to read, particularly those that may be anxious. I run because I donate to charity every time I enter a race, and I think of the people it’s making a difference to, who aren’t as fortunate and can’t get out for a walk or spend much time with their loved ones and it puts everything into perspective .
I run because I enjoy the buzz of the race day atmosphere and I want to be able to experience more of these, push myself further to beat my pb and travel to new places, seeing different parts of the world through running around them. Because when I was injured, the thought of never running again was so tough, and the boredom was at another level, and because virtual races can never quite compare to the real thing. Because I soon got over my self conscious-ness whilst training for that first race and realised noone actually cares what you look like when you run (thank god).
Ultimately, I run because I want to. Because I enjoy it and I’d love to inspire more non runners to give it a try. 18 months ago me would roll my eyes at this, and I still have friends who absolutely hate it, but I wouldn’t have found something I enjoy so much and reap the benefits of if I hadn’t taken that first step.