Here are 10 reasons why I love to run…
(1) It’s inexpensive – other than the equipment (running tops, shorts, sock, jackets, running shoes and any gadgets of course!), it doesn’t cost anything to leave the house and go and run for an hour. It’s true, the one-off costs of GPS watches and other gadgets is quite high, but these get a lot of use (and the costs are one-offs!). It’s also true that you have to change your running shoes after 300-500 miles, but that’s a lot of wear; much more than if you were simply walking in them. Running shoes, which aren’t cheap) are designed to protect you (to a degree) from injury and therefore changing them regularly is important.
(2) I can do it when I like – I’m not constrained to gym opening times or pool availability. I can go and run when I feel like (see (3) for more details).
(3) It has a negligible impact on my family – It’s true, it could. But it doesn’t! I could run in the evenings or every weekend. Instead I run at lunchtimes when there’s no impact on the family as more often than not, they’re not here. I do run (or volunteer) on alternate Saturday mornings at Eastleigh parkrun but when I volunteer, when I can, I take one or both of my children as it gets them socialising with different people and Daniel, especially, likes being ‘Daddy’s Special Helper’. Working from home has the major advantages of not spending time commuting to work and also means I can see the family much more than your average working dad. And, because I don’t have a hobby that consumes evenings, it means my wife can go out with friends, to the gym, cinema, swimming, etc in the evenings instead!
(4) I get to challenge myself – Sometimes, the challenge is simply to get out of the house. Sometimes, it’s in a race. Sometimes, it’s just being able to get from A to B and back to A again without walking/getting a taxi/crying! I run 5 or 6 races a year; normally in Jan, March, May, Sept and Oct. Nicely spread throughout the year and avoiding the warmth of the summer like the plague! I choose the races so that they are close to home and it means that for 5 or 6 times a year, I am out of the house for a morning and little more. Again, this affects the family negligibly and due to the fact that the races I choose are often 10 – 15 minutes drive away from home and last little more than an hour, it means that the family can come to watch. In fact, of the 5 races I’ve done this year, the family will have attended 3.
(5) It gets me out of the house – As a home-worker, I could very easily never leave the house. In fact, other than running or going to parkrun, I’ve only been out 2 or 3 evenings in the last 18 months (or possibly longer). Getting out of the house also gives me ‘thinking’ time, time to see what’s happening in the outside world and fresh air.
(6) It keeps me fit – Not so many years ago, I was nearing 16 stone and was huffing and puffing up stairs. When we had children, I didn’t want to turn into a couch potato who struggled to keep up with his children. I wanted to be fit and active. To be able to chase the boys around and that’s what I can do. When Daniel’s practising cycling, I can run alongside him without suffering a heart attack. My mid-life crisis has some advantages!
(7) Being fit should (hopefully) mean less chance of illness and disease – With a young family, I don’t want to be ill or become one of those cancer statistics. I want to do all I can to prolong my life so I can enjoy as much of it as possible with my family. I want to be proud of my boys as they get good jobs, buy their first house, get married, or whatever. In all likelihood, I’ll be well into my 60s by then and I want to be as fit then as I am now.
(8) It keeps me positive – I’m a positive person and rarely, if ever, get depressed about anything. Exercise fights off negativity, depression and gives me something to be positive about. If you suffer from depression, consider taking more exercise. It’ll surely help!
(9) I get to spend time with friends – Again, as a home worker, I don’t really have the luxury (or not) of having co-workers to chat to on a daily basis. Work chat is very work orientated. My social circle tends to be one build through my wife and her friends (and their partners). In fact, before I started running, I really didn’t have a group of friends of my own (and hadn’t really had one other than co-workers for several years). Being involved in running has given me the opportunity to develop more of my own friends. Yes, they’re all runners but is that such a bad thing?!
(10) I discovered parkrun – When I first discovered parkrun, I was excited about the concept. A free weekly timed 5km run in a local park. Unfortunately, at that time, there wasn’t a parkrun locally but in May 2010, one started in Eastleigh. After some negotiation, I was ‘allowed’ to participate and run the event fortnightly. As the event starts at 9am on a Saturday morning, the impact is kept to a minimum as most participants have finished and are heading home before 10am. In October 2010, I started Race Directing at Eastleigh parkrun and informally took over Event Directorship. This gave me the opportunity to be involved in building the event and the associated community and now, over a year later, looking back, it’s been a great experience. In January this year, I officially became the Event Director; a role I really enjoy. At Eastleigh, we have a great event and the community is really strong. I get to oversee the management of the event and have a great team/committee that work with me to make the event happen each week as well as organise special events such as the Magic Mile. As it’s completely voluntary, it’s also my way of giving something to local people (albeit people that like to run!) I guess you’ve got to try a parkrun before you get hooked by it. If you haven’t tried one, you’ll probably wonder why people get evangelical about it!