Well a few couple of weeks I saw an advert on Faceache for applications for a new wave of the brilliant Sport England: This Girl Can campaign. After a little pondering I thought what the hell and filled out the form, sent it off and then promptly forgot all about it. Much to my surprise, a few days later a little email arrived in my inbox inviting me to Liverpool for a casting in what was 2 days time! Eek, panic! I had never actually envisioned being shortlisted but I quickly agreed to go. What a fantastic chance to talk about fell running and maybe inspire others to give it a try.
I was going to say that I have never done anything like this before, but then remembered applying for a bbc show years ago and being invited for a casting for that in Manchester. From what I can remember it was some totally awesome opportunity to be whizzed across the world and get the chance to film cool wild animals. Each week a contestant would be ejected until only one remained who would get the chance to work with the bbc’s Natural History unit in Bristol. An amazing chance but sadly nothing ever came of it.
I digress. One grey Saturday a week or so ago I popped up to Liverpool and hunted out the studio where my appointment was. Upon arrival I was greeted by a few other friendly ladies who had also assembled for the same thing. For a while I was chatting to a lovely climber who was there with full ice-climbing gear, axes and all. We chatted about gear as she was keen to get into running and I found out all about her upcoming trip to Norway. Once upon a time I climbed a bit but running has sort of taken over from my other sporty hobbies these days.
My name was called and I trotted up to the room where I was greeted by 2 lovely interviewers and a rather scary looking camera. I tried to forget I was being filmed and be honest about my love for running and fell running in particular. OK so it may not be scaling Mount Everest or diving in the tropics, but I don’t think that means it should be any less inspiring. For me, the point of talking to people about running through this blog or via campaigns like This Girl Can is to show people that anyone can take part. You can get away with not spending a fortune on gear, there is no pressure to enter races (but you can if you want to), you can go it alone or join a club, you can run for a day or half an hour, you can run bits and walk bits, anything goes. The important thing is to believe you can do it and giving it a go as opposed to curling up at home thinking you can’t do it or it’s too hard.
I have found running to be massively empowering. Not only has my overall physical health and fitness improved, but it has at times been a bit of a lifesaver for my mental health too. We all have everyday stresses to cope with, some more than others, and life can sometimes weigh us down. 99% of the time when I can’t be bothered to run or feel fed up, when I do go out I feel so much better afterwards. That feeling that you get in your chest and lungs when you have exerted yourself, the spattering of mud over your shoes and legs, a warm glow in your cheeks, some lovely scenery and fresh air. No I’m not saying it’s a miracle cure for all of life’s woes, but it might just help in some small way to put things in perspective a bit or at least provide some welcome distraction.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a call back so won’t get the chance to shout about running around the hills to this much bigger audience but do hope that anyone chancing upon my blog takes something positive away from it. Really looking forward to seeing who did get through and the messages they put across as I think it is a great initiative for encouraging more women to get active.
Happy running x