What motivates you to run?

‘You’ll never be able to run properly again’ said the surgeon after I shattered my knee, broke my tibia, fibia, ligaments and cartilage after a sporting accident when I was 18 years old.

For many of us we use running as a way to de-stress, a way to declutter what may be going on in our lives. This can make it a very personal time, at times we may need to have a little rant about something annoying us with a running buddy or even in our own thoughts. Sometimes we may need advice on decisions, we talk & share (& sometimes it is the silence we share) to help us de-stress. Even as a stressed teenager about to face her exams, my father used to say ‘go for a run Lowri’. I would with the weight of the world on my shoulders but I’d always, regardless of the speed, distance, return with a spring in my step having unloaded many of the stresses and worries I carried with me. Therefore I always feel very privileged to be part of that space, & energy, to be allowed and invited to spend that special time out on the run either on my own or with friends.

Which brings me on to my running friends. For me one of the amazing things that happens when people meet for a run is everything gets left behind, your background, your job, your age, your gender. None of it is relevant. Running is an open sport for everyone, it doesn’t matter if you have a lot or a little bit of money, whether you have a university qualification or left school at 16, all you need is a pair of trainers & a passion for running. This alone encourages us to speak to people we might not normally meet in our lives, it breaks down any perceived social barriers. We are all the same at the start of a run.

Running is raw and honest. Full stop. There is no glamour (not for me!) and there is no room for pretense on a tough run. We see each other going through all emotions when running, we sometimes see each other at our lowest – the steep hill at mile 18 when you are doing a 21 mile training run, the run where you forgot to fuel properly & hit the wall, the run where everything hurts & you just want to cry, the run where you trip over and cut your knees, the run after the night before – and our friends get to see all of this. They get to see the raw version. And they don’t judge because they know. We know what it’ss like because we have been there. It happens, it’s part of our sport, it is what makes us stronger.

However this is where it gets good because even though there may be tough times, our running friends also provide the best support network available! We share our last gel, handover our last tissue, giveaway our last drop of water. We provide encouraging words, a smile, a hand over the rocks, a push up the steep hill. We are in it together, and together we motivate and inspire each other.

Of course running can be tough when you are working towards a goal or you are pushing yourself to get a PB, but when the times are tough, remind yourself that the good times will outweigh the bad times. You will smile and giggle at the silly little things, you will share silly jokes, laugh over a love of jelly babies, and remind each other how crazy you are! And you will still be laughing when you sit down together to have a cup of tea at the end of a training run, you will be hugging each other at the end of the training run after meeting at 0430am, will hug each other when you have your medals, those are the memories that you will treasure for years to come and keep you motivated to keep going out there, together.

Everyone has their own personal story as to why they have built up a love for running. If you are new to running the exciting part is that I believe you will soon be making new paths in your life and meeting new friends. Take that first step – go ask that colleague, that neighbour who you have seen going out for a little run whether they would like to go for a run together one day. When we moved into our street a few years ago, I saw a few neighbours running and asked if I could join them. We still meet up for our long weekly runs. Or if you have local running clubs go join them for a run, it may seem a daunting prospect but take a deep breath and pop along. You never know who you might meet, and the friendships you will make along the way.