The Accidental Runner

Afterthoughts: My Beautiful Friend by Elena Ferrante

A Lifetime’s Worth of New Year’s Resolutions in One Year

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I recently came across the story of Steve Way who was forced into running after developing lifestyle-related health issues and eventually came to represent Great Britain multiple times in distance running events. The most remarkable thing was that Way started seriously at the tender old age of 33 and came 10th at the Commonwealth Games in the marathon at the age of 40. If that isn’t inspirational I don’t know what is.

It got me thinking about my own situation. I picked up running in response to my own lifestyle-related health issues. Now I have reached a point where I am at a healthy weight and technically no longer need to run for that reason. Along the way, I grew to love running so much. Not only was I well-acquainted with the runner’s high, but I was also loved the simplicity of it. I ran at the same time most days and I grew to familiarize myself with the people –– runners, walkers, and dog-walkers alike –– of my route. I love that it left me fueled so much energy. What next? What is the goal now that my health is in a good place?

Way’s story gave me a picture of the future that I could feasibly see myself in. Run, run, and continue to run with an eye to become competitive in the marathon. This idea than in 10 years I could be in a position potentially reach the Commonwealth Games standard is really exciting and aligns very well with the ambition I know I have. The fact that this goal will take upwards of a decade is appealing because it requires integration into my lifestyle, my day-to-day, and that fits well with how I choose to think about spending my days. If it were a goal I could achieve in the order of weeks or months, there is less of an impetus to think long-term, and about looking holistically at my running and my health at large.

The beauty of having this running goal, aside from the positive health repercussions, is that it gives me a sense of purpose and something tangible to strive for.

TL;DR –– I became an runner by virtue of wanting to lose weight and now I’ve fallen so in love with the practice that now the goal is to achieve the Olympic standard.

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