March 29th 2017, the day everything changed. I had conveniently “forgotten” I had signed up for the Shrewsbury 10k and on the 28th, my neighbour who had also signed up for it, reminded me about it in front of parents, meaning, I had to do it!
I was horrendously over weight, tipping scales in excess of 18 Stone and had no suitable footwear for the event, but as I say, I HAD TO DO IT.
The day came, started the event with one of the most important people in my life, Mel, by my side who was the whole reason why I had signed up for it in the first place. We both said, after this event, we would NEVER do an event again…….. Me being the silly tit, that I am, decided I was comfortable so went of a bit quick after 1k or so, by 4K at bottom of Port Hill, I was blowing out of backside as the saying goes. To cut a long story short, the event felt horrendous until the final 20 Metres!
The sense of accomplishment and adrenaline I had once I had finished it, was truly unforgettable and irreplaceable. 3 weeks later I was on the start line for my 2nd 10K and my favourite to date. Tomorrow I enter my 4th official 10K event, I have since ran the distance a few times again just myself, but that’s not the point of this post.
The whole reason behind this post, is to really emphasise how much running in my case, but endurance sport in general can save and change people’s lives. The positive endorphins it releases have saved me many a time across the past year and a bit and if it wasn’t for running, god knows where I would be!
I remember the 3 part documentary the BBC did last year which followed the training progress of 8 people who had severe mental health issues as they trained for the London Marathon. Every participant spoke about how running had changed their lives for the good in every aspect. I’m not preaching that running is the only way to get that feeling of fulfilment but it’s my personal medication.
Each person has a love of a different sport, but I ask people, if you feel down, get up despite it may being so dam hard to do so, and do something physical. A long walk, a countryside cycle, some gym work or it may even be press ups or squats. It helps and I will preach that to anyone and everyone happily.
Would I be where I am now without running? In short, NO! Mental health affects so many people and so many people hide and do not have the confidence to speak up for help or to talk about it. It is increasingly important for mental health to be spoken about socially and make those worried to share what they may think is a weakness. If mental health wasn’t such a sensitive subject and had as much ignorance, people may have the confidence to contact a doctor and change their lives.
Anyone and everyone can be active, but they can’t be forced to do so. I firmly believe that in life, in courage and bravery, comes change and support.
So no matter what happens in the Market Drayton 10K tomorrow, that feeling of crossing the finishing line, will be just as special as the last.