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Meet the darkness with the shine

Posted by
25 Apr 2014

Two weeks into April, the UK had already seen the London Marathon and Sheffield half marathon. Having signed up to run Amsterdam's marathon in October, I view these events with a mix of awe and dread. Awe at how people manage to keep moving for over anything over 90 minutes, and dread that I have agreed to do the same in just over six months. I often have to be an advocate for running.

When you're getting up at 5:45am for a morning run, you field a lot of questions about what could possibly inspire you to get out of bed at such an unholy hour. It's not always an easy one to defend - and I grumble about the early starts more than anyone else - but the benefits to me are numerous and priceless.

At Sellick Partnership it seems there are 'birthday treats' at least once a week (I actually have a pile of crisps, pretzels and a jam tart by me as I type this - it's a colleague's birthday) and getting up for a horrible interval training run makes these slightly more guilt free.

More importantly for me is the impact it has on my mood. When I'm having a stressful day in the office after having skipped a morning run, snoozing my alarm at 5:45am to have another hour in bed is the thing I regret most. I feel more awake and am noticeably more relaxed. When colleagues ask how I can stand to get up so early I remind them of the days I've snapped at them because I passed on the run.

I already knew the benefit running had on my mood, and multiple studies into mood disorders show that I am by no means alone. However, what still surprises me is how much good running can bring out in other people.

Tens of millions of pounds are raised every year by people running the London Marathon, but the Sheffield half marathon brought out the good in people in a different way. The half marathon had to be cancelled as sufficient water supplies couldn't be secured for the event. I completely understand from a runner's perspective that nothing was going to stop the 5,000 participants from completing the course after months of training.

It restored my faith in humanity to see how many residents turned out to support the runners and provide water and sustenance where the organisers could not.

Though I might claim that I don't, I do love running. That doesn't mean it's not awful at times, but it clears my head and lifts my mood regardless of what else has happened. In the same way that positive attitudes are contagious, I think positive actions are too.

Whether you're running, supporting those who are or giving stranger water to help them keep putting one foot in front of the other, it can be so easy to keep someone else going.

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