It may have taken me almost 10 years, but I think I am finally running for the right reasons. There’s still certainly an element of escapism – I think any runner who says there isn’t may be lying. Exercise is often described as a drug, with running trending highly. I’ll fully admit that running is my drug. It offers me so much more than just going to the gym, lifting weights or cycling.
“Running makes me feel euphoric; it gives me structure, ambition. It introduces me to new people and places. It makes me feel alive.”
Since joining Never Stop London in 2017, I quickly became a ‘trail runner’. I got all the gear, including an upgrade to a new Suunto watch, which has the option of adding premade routes onto it – this was a game changer for me, as I am utterly useless at reading maps – as well as a number of pairs of trail shoes. Turns out there are different types for different terrain.
I began going on my own trail runs, often near my family, exploring places I had never seen before, right from my doorstep. I also joined other trail running groups, such as Wild TR (Wild Trail Runners), who often ran slightly further, sometimes up to 35k. I continued to do the odd run commute, though I didn’t enjoy road running much and suffered a lot with shin splints.
I entered races with the new communities I had met through running, mostly Tribe, Maverick or Endurance Life, often up to a half marathon distance (21.3k). In most races, I would place top four, or at least top four female, so it quickly became quite a serious hobby. As the races become more serious though, so do those who I am running against, so sometimes I have to settle with a little lower placing…
My favourite place to run is the mountains. I found this out in June 2018, when I ran my first mountain race in the Dolomites, Italy.
In 2019, I decided to push myself a little bit further and signed up to my first marathon – trail, of course. 42km long and 3,500ft of elevation. It was during the time of Storm Dennis, in March 2019. The weather was horrible, and while the rain held off for most of it, it was dark, damp and we were blown all over the place with 50mph winds.
Luckily, I had my good friend Tom by my side. He could have easily won that race but chose to stick with me. We finished the race side-by-side, with me taking 3rd female and us both placing 11th and 12th respectively.
I often go away with my ‘running friends’ over the weekend, usually to the Lake District, Dorset or Wales – anywhere where there are beautiful trails. I call them ‘running friends’ because I have other friends too who don’t run (much as I’ve tried to get them to). They’d much rather a long walk or trip to the pub instead. But so do I. Down time’s important. And thanks to them, I think I have the balance between running and drinking too many glasses of wine just right.