What has running given you? Freedom, fitness, challenge, achievement, health? The answer will probably be different for everyone and vary based upon the reasons that you started running in the first place. Over time the answer might also change and I am interested to hear what you think.
Sport of all kinds, not just running, is one of life’s fantastic ways of bringing like-minded folk together and that sense of community brings all kinds of benefits along with it. This has been highlighted to me massively in recent years, the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people who make you happy. Now I’m not saying that I will be best friends with every single runner and that we all get on, skipping around the hills holding hands and throwing our heads back laughing all day long. What I do think is that running, and any sport or group activity, gives you instant common ground to start a conversation. From turning up on my own to fell and trail races a few years ago and shuffling about on the edge of the crowd waiting for races to start, I now set off to the same races knowing that if it’s a local race there is likely to be plenty of friendly faces to have a chat with at registration, a bit of friendly banter whilst running around and plenty of smiles and post-race analysis at the finish. I can honestly say that sport has introduced me to some of the best people I know.
Last week was the week of 4 races in 6 days. Two of these were in the fantastic Accelerate Gritstone series, Castleton on Friday and Edale on Sunday. As these are in such close proximity to each other, myself and a small group of friends decided to make a weekend of it and camp for a couple of nights. If it wasn’t for running I would never have met some of these people, and they have become some of my closest friends. I moved to the outskirts of Belper about 5 years ago with my now ex-partner. When we separated over a year ago, without that network of friends I’d have felt pretty isolated. Even getting out to the races themselves was a wondrous thing. Escaping from the house with a purpose in the evenings and weekends and meeting all those cheerful faces and friends in beautiful locations was such a tonic. We all have stresses in life, and many were going through much worse things that I was. Coming out to run in these special places gives you that escapism. A chat with a friend, even if it is about something totally unrelated to what is troubling you, is a fantastic way to focus on the positives in life and can really help put things into perspective.
I started this post to talk about the wonderful people I have met through running and about the great weekend we had racing and camping….but seem to have digressed into a lecture about getting off your backside and out with friends if you are feeling down. But the two seem to go hand in hand so I think it’s fair enough!
Happy running x