Today, June 1st 2016, is Global Running Day, “a day for people around the world to celebrate the joys of running…to share your passion for the sport and inspire others to get moving”.
What does running mean to you? Is it the far distant memory of a cold, wet and muddy cross country field at school and the knowledge that you only had to go round the course one more time and you could hang up your trainers for ever? Is it cheering your kid as they run in the school 100m race and you crossing your fingers that they wouldn’t be last to finish? Or, is it you smiling, punching the air in triumph, falling to your knees in sheer exhaustion or gratitude as you / your run buddy cross the finish line at the end of that 5k / 10k / half marathon / marathon / ultra-run you / they have trained so hard for? Whichever it is, I’m with you – well save for the kid’s 100m race, that was my parents crossing their fingers…
Whilst I have always been physically active and enjoyed sport, until my early 40’s I was never a “runner” and the mere word scared me. Fast forward 8 years and today I cannot imagine my life without running in it and all it has taught me along the way. In addition to sharing fantastic experiences and friendships, running has had a positive impact not only on my physical and mental wellbeing but also on the wellbeing of friends and family who have put on their training shoes and joined me on the paths /trails. Being a catalyst and seeing another person’s self-esteem and confidence grow is hugely rewarding – knowing that in parallel they are improving their physical and mental health whilst having fun, well fun most of the time, is a true privilege.
Last month saw the launch of Heads Together, a campaign spearheaded by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to end stigma around mental health. Heads Together is the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon Charity of the Year and Heads Together “aims to change the national conversation on mental health and wellbeing, and will be a partnership with inspiring charities with decades of experience in tackling stigma, raising awareness, and providing vital help for people with mental health challenges.”
Whilst a marathon of 26.2 miles may be 26 miles too far, perhaps today, Global Running Day 2016 is a great day to call your partner, kids or friend(s), leave the office on time and together start your running journey of 0.2 miles and see where it takes you from there. You may be surprised where you get to and what you get out of it…. Enjoy, I plan to with a couple of my friends.