It was the beginning of 2014 when I began to fall for you. While many people begin to try you out to lose weight or improve their fitness, for me it was more personal. Entering my third year of university, my mental health was suffering. Truth be told, I was struggling more than I’ve ever admitted, even to myself.
But you were there for me.
I approached you tentatively. Beginning with snatched moments together, interspersed by longer periods of walking, I aimed to get to 5k. It wasn’t long though until the time I spent with you, was more than the time I spent walking. And, slowly, I began to feel myself moving further away from the darkness I’d felt so lost in.
Armed with some Christmas money, I bought my first ever pair of shiny Saucony running trainers. I felt like we’d now entered a proper relationship – those trainers the equivalent of a flashy Facebook relationship update.
However, around the same time, I learnt that my Godmother’s cancer had sadly returned. Once again you were there to comfort me. You became my solace and a way to show my support for her: I signed up to my very first 10k race, in aid of Cancer Research.
In May 2013, together, we completed this first 10k – the Bristol 10k. I was elated when I ran it in 1 hour and 4 minutes, having nearly raised £300, and I loved how you had made me feel.
While my love affair with you has been sporadic since then, I always find myself coming back to you. I have taken part in 2 more 10k races since that very first and, afterwards, I always wonder why I love you when you make me work so hard. It’s never long though before you’re calling me back, asking me to fly through the great outdoors once more – feeling the wind whip through my hair, the ground pounding beneath my feet, and the sun on my face, connecting me with everything I love about the earth.
So, running, I thank you. From that very first run/walk you have given me so many moments where I’ve felt proud of my achievements. You did indeed help to improve my mental state, and I still turn to you in times of turbulence. You’ve made me fitter, healthier, stronger. You’ve given me confidence as, through you, I achieved things I never thought I could. To sum it all up, you’ve made me a better version of myself – and isn’t that what love is all about?
Unlike most lovers though, I am willing to share you. Being by no means the slimmest or fittest person, you’ve shown me that you can be a part of anyone’s life. I urge anyone to abandon themselves to a passionate love affair with you; a love affair that is far more likely to heal a heart than to break it.
All my love