In November last year, Matt signed up to run the London Marathon in April. It’s been a life long dream of his and after running 13.1 miles for fun, he signed up to raise money for Crimestoppers. Since November, our lives have changed with Saturdays being devoted to fetching an exhausted Matt in odd parts of the city after one of his big runs. Conversations have revolved around blisters, the best running trainers and his average pace per mile. Conveniently, running 17 miles on a Saturday also seems to get him out of household chores! I am joking of course, but really I’ve never been more proud of him than I am right now. The discipline it takes to get out and run so many lonely miles and then do it all over again, blows me away.
So much so that I’ve become slightly obsessed too. The girl who used to fake sprained ankles to get out of cross-country racing in junior school, has discovered the exhilaration and joy that comes from running. It started when I bought my first pair of proper running trainers before Christmas last year and I haven’t looked back since.
I wouldn’t consider myself an athlete. While I’ve loved exercise during periods of my life, I inevitably get bored and frustrated and blow off the gym to rather sit at home with a glass of wine. Couple this with breaking my ankle several years ago, and being told that I would never be able to run as a result, I am hardly the poster child for a runner.
And yet, I’ve never felt greater clarity or peace that comes from lacing up my trainers and pounding out the miles. Finding peace is a big thing for me right now, as this year hasn’t started out well. In battling feelings of anxiety, insecurity and depression – running has become my safe space. And while I love the strength I feel in my body, it’s the strength I feel in my mind that I crave and need. In many ways, running has become a metaphor for getting through this dark time. One step at a time, one day at a time. The only way through the pain, is to keep going.
In chasing the high that makes me feel truly alive – I’ve committed to running the Lincoln 10k in April, my first ever race. A year ago, running 10 km was laughable. Today, it feels more than possible.
I’m not sure where running will take me or whether I’ll ever hit the heights of running a marathon. A marathon may never be how I define success for myself. But I hope never to forget that in the moments of spent breath and aching legs, I am a happier and stronger me. And that’s more than enough of a reason to keep doing it over and over again.
P.S. If you would like to donate to the wonderful man that is my running inspiration and help him to achieve his dream please click here.