I’m writing this after hearing the announcement today on the 40th anniversary of the first Great North Run, that the Great North Run 2021 will go ahead in September. I am excited and scared and all of the emotions you can imagine. This piece of certainty in amongst all of the uncertainty we’ve experienced this year really is welcomed. It means I can confirm a week off work around the run, people who wanted to come and watch me run can make plans and I can continue with my hyperfocus of training, reassured that I am working towards something massive. HALF MARATHON still feels like a bit of a scary word but with every extra mile I run it seems more manageable. That I can actually do it. On Sunday I reached a bit of a milestone with my running journey. I ran a whole eight miles, the furthest I have ever ran.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about why I run, and want to use this space to share those thoughts with you. Over the weekend I watched a documentary about women running in India, who were reclaiming the streets and proving they can run too. You may have read me referencing India in my blogs before, I spent a bit of time there in my 20’s, very quickly falling in love with the country, the culture and its people. There is also a darker side to India, and one that as a western woman I have no authority or right to comment on. I do however have admiration for these women taking up running in India, and tackling barriers head on, that over here I don’t experience on quite the scale they do. I run for many things, not for friends, or family, or the random guy shouting at me in the street, I run for me and for those who can’t. This is why I run. And why this iconic race taking place in my beloved North East is so so important to me.
I run to feel free, to hear the birds, I run to feel more like me
I run to quieten my brain. I run to dampen down the thoughts.
Running helps slow down the washing machine in my noisy brain
I run because once I was told running was beyond me
I run to prove those negative comments wrong
I run on days when anxiety is bad, to prove there is still something to get out of bed for
I run for my late friend, and for all those who have tragically lost friends and family too soon
I run for those who can’t
I run for a younger me, scared and terrified, hiding at the back of a school sports hall
I run for young people who are laughed at for their uncoordinated body or appearing awkward in class
I run because I like a challenge, to set out to do something and do it well
I run for the women in India fighting oppression through a love for a sport we share
I run because hyperfocus has given me the motivation to get out of the door
I run because I can do it on my own or with others
I run because running is a personal thing to me and no one can take that away from me
Running temporarily shuts up that voice telling me I’m terrible at everything. I can run.
I run for youth work that helped me to become me. And my youth workers who listened and never doubted I could
I run because nobody can tell me I’m doing it wrong. I am in control. I run for me.
I am running a half marathon for young people in Gateshead, to show if I can run, they can surprise themselves too
I run because I was once made to believe I can’t, and now eight miles in, I know I can.
If you’ve got this far, there really are no more words, other than a massive thank you for all of the support so far. People saying nice things really keeps me going too. And as always, if you’d like to sponsor my Great North Run now we know it IS going to happen, you can do so here.