I've gained so much from running. The benefits aren't just physical, though, I'm more self confident, have way more friends and travel far more than I did before I found a decent use for trainers.
And I'm not alone. It turns out running legends like Paula Radcliffe feel the same way. In fact, the world-record holder is so sure of the benefits of running, that she's working to encourage more women to take up the sport. She started with a group of six women, a mixture of experienced runners and complete newbies, who all completed the Great Manchester Run earlier this month.
"It was great to see how they grew in confidence throughout the process and how, when they finished, they were so overcome by how they were able to [finish the race]. And they've made friends amongst each other because they've shared that bond, they've shared that journey. They're already planning the next run."
Not happy with just conquering Manchester, Paula is now encouraging a group of London women who are all training for the Morrisons Great Newham London Run. 'Radcliffe's Great Runners' will take on the 10k race, which loops around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, in the hope to inspire more women to sign up and even out the race-entry gender split (it's currently at 46:54). That would be, in the words of Paula "really special".
Even more special is that every runner will get to finish in the iconic Olympic Stadium. I did the race (under a different name) in 2013 and the atmosphere and emotion as soon as you approach the track, is indescribable! With such an amazing sports venue, it seems nuts that Newham is one of the most inactive London boroughs. Hopefully this event in July will help to change that.
Running is such a simple sport, all you need is a pair of trainers and off you go...! But it's better with friends. So sign up your non-running, newly-running or always-running friends and join Pherenice, Paula B, Donna, Devkee, Meera, Vicki and, of course, Paula to make this year's race an even 50:50.