We’ve been asked quite a lot recently which of the two of us started running first, and got the other into it. I can say, hand on heart, that I would not have bothered with the thing if it weren’t for my little mother.
For years, the extent of my relationship with running was sitting in the car reading my book while mum did a race, then traipsing out to the finish line to helpfully eat half of the Mars Bar in her goody bag. When I was asked about running, I had a really teenagery response – “Seems like an unnecessarily difficult way to get from A to A to me. No thanks.”
As I got older, Mum started wheedling me to come running with her. She would say she used “maternal persuasion” but others may say “emotional blackmail”. Potato, potahto. Each birthday and mother’s day, I’d ask what she wanted from me. The answer each time “Just for you to come out for a run with me…”. I would come along, puffing and panting; overheated and – often – crying. In between times, I would occasionally go for a jog by myself or with my puppy, but I never felt desperate to pop my trainers on.
So far, so reluctant in my running. Early last year, something happened that made me realise I’d turned to the dark side. Mum managed to persuade me to sign up for a 10K race for Age UK (I do love old people) and as the race date came nearer, she got the opportunity to move to Buenos Aires for 6 months, right when it was time for our race! Somehow, the prospect of schlepping round Harewood House with me one Sunday didn’t outweigh practicing her excellent Spanish and drinking red wine in Argentina for half a year (?!) and off she went. Well, obviously I wan’t going to bother with the race without her maternal persuasion, was I? Or.. wait… I realised that actually I kind of wanted to take part in the race, for its own sake, no mama involved. I downloaded a training plan, followed it to the letter and ran the race with a pal. I loved it. I was hooked and there was no going back. The combination of years of wheedling, having a goal that was all my own and seeing the results of sticking to a plan all led to my falling in love with running.
Now, on a Friday night we sometimes catch a train to a station 14 miles away from home and run back just for fun. An unnecessarily difficult way to get from ‘A’ to ‘A’? We actually pay good money to leave ‘A’, to then stride back right back to ‘A’, for no reason! God, don’t tell my teenage self. Or the mum to my teenage self… she would be unbearably pleased.
What is your running story? How did you start, and what was your first big achievement?