“Friends who’ve known me for years are often bemused by the fact that I took up running. After all, they knew me when I was a plumpish couch potato with a penchant for renovation tv shows, harry potter, ice cream and daydreaming. So I often get asked why I do it, and how I got started.
It’s a tricky question to answer. But I think I have four main reasons. The first is that I have found, quite by accident, that running helps to quell my anxious personality. The second is that I have discovered that running is, surprise surprise, a child free activity which is rare occurrence in itself, but also one that has my husband’s full blessing and support. The third is that I find setting goals, working towards them and ultimately achieving them (like running my first 5km etc) makes a massive difference to my self-esteem, perceptions of what I am capable of, my health and weight, and ultimately my happiness levels.
But perhaps the most powerful reason that I have learned to love running is that I have learned that I am fallible, and that I will not last forever. My husband was diagnosed with cancer several years ago but is thankfully now fully recovered. Shortly afterwards my dear friend Marion was diagnosed with a brain tumour and sadly passed away a few months later. Within another short few months my friend Ally lost her battle to ovarian cancer. And as I stood by helplessly and watched these three dearly loved warriors fight for their lives, and hear stories about many others, I realised that the one thing that cancer patients all long for is the one thing I take daily for granted: a healthy body. And to use it, enjoy it, test it and push its limits is a truly privilege and an honour, and a temporary one at that.
So when I run, I think about the joy that comes from running on behalf of the loved ones who can’t join me. And I think about the fact that one day I might not be able to run either, but at least I can look back at myself and say, hey, I did well there. I tried and persevered and succeeded. And ultimately, I run because I can.”