I started running when studying for my masters due to not being able to afford my monthly gym subscription. I pounded the pavements as, like a lot of young women, I thought I had to lose weight. In the eight years since, my reasons for lacing up my trainers has continually evolved. Running has brought me joy and helped to work through some of life’s more challenging moments - such as the sudden loss of a close friend.
On Sunday, I would have been running 26.2 miles at the Brighton Marathon. I had been training all winter and was on track with my training plan and goal time. When the race was inevitably postponed, my heart sank. I now feel guilty for feeling so sorry for myself - clearly many others are in far more serious situations.
Since lockdown I have continued running but I have stopped following my marathon training plan. I look up more. I notice things in my local park and neighbourhood that I didn’t when chasing times or sticking to the plan. My love of running is even stronger than ever.
Running isn’t a magic pill. It doesn’t solve all the world’s problems (if only) but it can help manage some of the feelings around them.
Sian Earl is the Lead Partnership Officer at the University of East London.