I have longed to be a runner for a very long time. There have been times when I have attempted to start the running journey but for many reasons, mainly lack of commitment, I’ve not continued. I know and admire other women who run. Every day they get up before the rest of us even open our eyes, pull on the running gear and take off, rain, hail or shine. I call that dedication.
Now it’s not that I haven’t been an active person. I’ve played netball, and squash (when it was all the rage) and I exercise and walk for decent distances on a daily basis. However, running and jogging has proved difficult. I think it takes a certain mind-set, a determination that I’ve been unable to develop over the years. I expect that when someone begins running they have to do so long enough for the activity to be integrated within their psyche, and then they probably can’t imagine not doing it. In fact I suspect, it becomes euphoric…that’s the bit I would love !
Anyway, I know women who run. My sister in-law runs. Recently she ran with her daughter in a fun run and ran a personal best. How about that for someone who has seen five decades of life and is now running her heart out in her sixth! I think she is amazing but it doesn’t just happen. I know my sister-in-law has been an early morning runner for a very long time, so her discipline and consistency over the years has paid off. A wonderful achievement to participate in a running event with your adult daughter.
Also, a younger woman with whom I have a business connection, runs at a very impressive level. It’s her release, her social connection with others who share the sport and of course it keeps her fit, lean and vital. When I talk with her about running I notice the gleam that appears in her eyes. Running it seems, gives her a sense of self and a personal balance that I’m sure she would find hard to tap into without the physical and emotional escape of running each day. Running appears to be a meaningful and full-filling part of her life, not just something she does to keep fit.
I also recall, many years ago, working with a fabulous young woman who would come in to work early in order to leave half an hour early at the end of each day. Her running coach lived one hour away and daily she travelled to train with a running squad. She excelled at many sports but running was her passion. She won the women’s equivalent to the Stawell Gift (a prestigious running event in Australia) in her day and joyfully came to work the following Monday with her winner’s sash and photo. No big prize money in those times just the achievement. I’ll always remember her dedication.
A couple of years ago when I was in London, my visit happened to coincide with the London Marathon. Never having attended an international running event before I decided to go for a bit of a look. I remember standing on the embankment not far from Big Ben and watching the runners. It was a very emotional experience for me, one that I wasn’t expecting. The thrill of seeing that throng of runners stream past brought tears to my eyes. They ran with varying degrees of skill and ability, fast, slow, awkward, smooth and some with obvious physical difficulty, but they all had one thing in common, they were running a marathon. I’ll never forget that sea of runners, men and women and the thunderous applause they received from the large crowd on that beautiful sunny day in London. I thought a lot about running after that encounter.
So you see, I write with envy but enormous admiration for the running sisterhood out there…the wonderful women who pound the footpaths and face the elements each day whilst I make a coffee and steal precious minutes inside the covers of my doona with my most recent novel.
In the process of writing this post I’ve become aware that running is just my fantasy, my impossible dream…possibly too late to take up the running challenge but comfortable enough to express my failed ambitions!