- I love to be outside. Yes, there’s some treadmill work involved currently until the nights get shorter again, but primarily it’s all for my long weekend runs. Just me, the sunrise/set, numerous birds (typically swans, robins and the odd heron), dog walkers (actually not always a good thing – I got lunged at by an alsatian recently. Although this was good for my speedwork.) and other runners.
- Other runners. Both within my group (Sweatshop Peterborough) and strangers who smile, say ‘good morning’ or just scrunch up their faces into a sweaty grimace. I feel your pain.
- To eat more cake. They can’t all be virtuous reasons.
- To control my goals. I’ve always been ambitious, but my goals have almost always been work-related, and therefore generally come down to someone else’s decision ultimately. Running is my decision. When/where and in fact whether I go out for a run, which (if any) races I sign up to and even what my next goal is (currently getting to 10k) are all up to me. And guess what? I can do it if I stick at it. A revelation!
- It’s changed how I feel about my body. I’ve not been nice to my body over the years, but it would be churlish not to appreciate what it’s done for me lately. I give it a task, and it more-or-less gets it done. I tell it to get out of bed early on a Saturday, and with no breakfast, plod its way down the river for a slow 8k, and it does it. For the first time ever, I’m proud of it, no matter how it looks.
- The merch. A whole new world (Aladdin-style) of shopping has opened up to me. Running tights, sports bras – even socks are exciting to me now.
- The magazines. I experience any new hobby through magazines (that’s why I love my job) and running has meant I can invest in at least three new subscriptions. Print’s not dead.
- The bling. I appreciate these reasons have gone somewhat materialistic, but I defy anyone to not feel just a teensy bit Gollum with a shiny new race medal around their neck.
- The support. I always knew I had supportive friends and family, but their tolerance for my waffling on about distances, times, etc has been really touching. Special thanks to mama Dening for accompanying me to races at ungodly hours.
- The pride. One of my favourite mantras for (literally) uphill climbs is ‘pain is temporary, pride lasts a lifetime’. And it’s true, although I sometimes have to remind myself. It’s amazing to catagorise myself as a ‘sporty person’ for the first time in my life. To not be terrified of embarassing myself running for a train. To take an interest in televised races. To not shuffle guiltily past the ‘sports and leisure’ catagory on the magazine racks. To tell people: “I’m a runner.”
Why do you run? I’d love to know.