:: Destination Unknown
It’s over 5 years since I first laced up a pair of running shoes. It was first light in a sleepy village sitting on the border of England & Wales and I was stood at a metaphorical crossroads at the time and not really sure which direction life, let alone my maiden run was heading. Looking back now I suppose it was a case of fight or flight, with the latter rather surprisingly winning through on this occassion as I headed out of the door for an early morning run. Don’t get me wrong it’s not there isn’t fight inside, but transformation seemed to be a better option than confrontation as life was very suddenly turned upside down with two young boys in the middle. It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and reflecting back now it was one of the best decisions I’ve made as I set off on a road to running and unleashed a runner lurking within; perhaps more importantly it has let me run through the challenges facing me and given me answers to the questions I needed answering along the way. It has become my thinking time and ignited my ideas, one of which is this very blog!
From those very first steps I have shed pounds and clocked up miles on the road from novice jogger to international marathon runner. Running is so much more than a collection of medals and personal bests though. My short time as a runner has taught me more about myself and life than all the preceding sedentary years. There are no hiding places, or quick fixes when you run. If you want to get better you must be better, becoming strong not only physically, but mentally too.
For me the act of running is primarily a solitary challenge and any competition comes from within, but motivation and support are never far away. I often run in isolation, but I’m always part of a bigger club and have joined a community who contribute at every twist and turn. It’s forged friendships and prompted others to follow in my footsteps. Perhaps one of the most rewarding aspects of being a runner is when you inspire others to join the collective and see the transitions in them that you too once passed through! The collective now includes my two little boys who on many an occasion have run at my side, or dragged me along behind their bikes. I’ve learnt along the way that I can better educate them through actions and not words.
Running has been the ultimate self-improvement tool for both body and mind in my short time as a runner. It’s given me clarity in the clouds, inspiration when idle and become a motivational mantra and guiding light as I meander through life. Nowadays, the metronome beat of left and right feet is setting the tempo as run down the street; whilst the ultimate destination may still be unknown, the journey is one I am cherishing every step of the way and the simple art of running is what keeps me on track. I’m off for a run and I want to pass on the baton to as many people as possible. Don’t know where I’m going, got no way of knowing!, but anyone joining me?
‘Destination Unknown’ was written as a contribution for the launch of the *UKRunChat website a few weeks back and is replicated here as it kind of explains a lot the reasons I am where I am on my journey of happiness!
*The mission of UKRunChat is to link the UK running community, supporting each other to achieve running goals. The website can be found here or followed on Twitter @UKRunChat