By the time you’re reading this, I would have finished my 145-mile ultra run from London to Bristol. Hopefully. It’s a strange feeling, writing that down now as I sit in the sweltering sun, crossing fingers it won’t be this hot.
It’s been weird. I’ve found myself getting really emotional about the whole race finally happening, and the other day, I realised why. You see, I decided to do this race when the first lockdown began last May. The training gave me such a focus. Throughout each lockdown, throughout each time we all had to stay away from friends, each time the regular things we did were taken away, training for this race sometimes literally gave me something to do when I was on my own with huge stretches of staring back at me.
And so now, here I am, trained, ready, I think – for who can ever be totally ready – and near the start line. I’m feeling thankful for running being in my life, not just for the health factor, but for so many other reasons. So, I thought I’d share them with you today. If you’re thinking of running, contemplating taking it up, do. Just get out and run, because I promise you the rewards will be more than you ever thought just putting one foot in front of the other could bring.
So, here you go, why I’m grateful for running:
- I stay fit, but not in a diet way, running makes me feel strong in body and in mind
- It gives me something to do when I’m on my own
- It makes me push myself, makes me get to the start line, helps me get up each day
- I never feel lonely when I run – this one surprised me
- Running helps me work through every emotion – happy, sad, angry. I did my fastest minute mile when I was cross about something. Watch out
- Running feels a little like home. Odd one this, but I only realised it the other day after I’d been feeling lost. Running and writing – my two safe places, always.
- It’s brought me closer to people – this 145 race has made me realise how many friends I have, how much I care for them – and how much they care for me. I mean, my friends are literally running and driving alongside me to help. Bowled over. That care and love are somethings I’m still getting used to
- Running clears my head. When I write and get stuck on a plot or an article, a run sorts it all out.
- It’s introduced me to new people who I now consider good friends
- It’s a solo sport and at the same time, an epic team one
- It’s been my mode of transport, literally since I was a kid. I’ve used my feet instead of my car more times than I can count and I love that
- It help me to push my limits, to challenge my boundaries of achievement and thinking
- It can be damn good fun
- I get to sightsee – 145-miles’ worth!
No matter what has happened in my race, hopefully I’ve finished, and if not, that’s okay. Why? Because I started. For isn’t that what not only running, but any challenge in life is about? Getting to the start line? And then the race gun fires and off you begin on the amazing adventure.
Nikki Owen is an author and endurance athlete living in Stroud.
Nikki is using her 145-mile run to support Stroud Foodbank. You can donate today here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/NikkiOwen5