Eighteen years ago this was me, yes I was once a new years resolution runner, though I can't confess to ever having colour coordinating kit! It seems a lifetime ago that I first laced up my trainers and shuffled around the block. There are a multitude of reasons why people take up running, weight loss, to get fit and to meet new people are just a few. For me, my divorce had just been finalised, I turned thirty, like I said it was new year, and I needed to lose weight or buy bigger clothes! With three young children running seemed the easiest option, less time consuming (if only I knew what I do now!) and cheaper (again or so I thought!) than joining a gym.
|Run to parkrun today|
I never imagined when I started out that running would become such a massive and important part of my life, I was purely doing it to lose weight and then tick London Marathon off my bucket list, then that would be running done! Instead what happened is I discovered that I loved running, it was an enjoyable way to spend some free time and kept the weight off, and as I started to run more and enter more races I discovered places I wouldn't have seen or been to otherwise.
It was a long time, probably ten years before running became sociable for me. When I began there was no parkrun, couch to 5K groups and the like weren't a thing and I didn't ever feel like I wanted to join a running club, I was still at that time fitting running in around children and work. So early morning running had became the norm for me. Then in 2012 I discovered ultra running and that's when the complete craziness began, but I also started to meet people at races. I guess that's one of the good things that has come from social media, you could keep connected with people you had met at a race, local Facebook running groups/chats appeared and suddenly I had connections with other runners. Along with the phenomena that is parkrun running is now more sociable than ever and I have met so many amazing friends along the way.
|Enjoying a race|
I guess the point of this blog is to say to those taking their first tentative steps into running is to stick with it. Give your local parkrun a try, join a beginners running group. It doesn't matter what your reason for starting out is, or what type of running you aspire to, you will meet people who share your goals, who feel just as apprehensive about getting out there. The thing I have learnt is there will always be someone to encourage and support you, whether you want to run for twenty minutes or two days straight, complete a parkrun or a marathon or just for the pure enjoyment of being out there, someone will be feeling the same.
Running has given me so much in the last eighteen years, memorable races, medals, t-shirts, training runs and most importantly friends. It has helped me through some tough times and helps me massively in managing my mental health. I love all sorts of running, sometimes I like a road run, some days I want to be out on the trails, in the mud, exploring new places. I feel privileged to be able to spend my free time running.
|Running with friends|
One thing which still amazes me is when people say I have inspired them, that I have been the reason they have taken up the sport. To think others are out there running because of me seems crazy, I just go out and do what I love doing, but it also makes me incredibly proud.
So if you are just beginning, stick with it, enjoy it and maybe in eighteen years you will have had as much fun and adventures as I have.
As for me I plan to keep going as long as I am able, there are no plans to ever stop and 2020 is going to be the year I finally finish a 100 mile race!
Happy new year and happy running xxxx