When you’re asked to write a non-run run report but have no idea what to write about: get everyone else to do it for you!

“What running means to me.”

I sat down at the beginning of the week to write my 2nd non-run run report…. Did you know I was the Conkers original non-run run reporter, some such as Roger Cobb may describe me the non-run run reporter extraordinaire, feel free to do so… anyway, time to get down from my pedestal and actually think of something to write about.

Nope, nothing…

Writers block…

So I had an idea… I’m a bright spark you see. I decided to pester fellow non-parkrunners to ask them to describe “what running means to me”, then if (hopefully) enough of them reply I’ll be able to produce something worth reading on Sunday afternoon… they all did so it’s a very long read. Sorrynotsorry.

Let’s start off with P.K, Ultra-marathoner who amazingly ran 110km in 24 hours to raise funds for charity, inspirational. “Running means everything to me. My mental health, the amazing friends I’ve made, the sense of belonging I feel, the confidence and self-belief I’m rediscovering… all down to running.”

“It’s often a much needed chance to switch off and get some headspace. It’s something I can feel proud of knowing how far I’ve come and being determined to improve. It’s a group of people I never thought I’d be a part of who are all so welcoming and friendly.” S.C

Confidence and a sense of belonging seem to be a common reason: “Running changed my life, it made me find the real me, the person you see today is the best version of me, I’ve never been happier, more confident, healthier and it has introduced me to the most wonderful of people, whom I now consider to be family.” K.D

For some of us, running may have started out as a way to lose the weight; to become a little healthier; a little fitter - but once we start it becomes who we are. A.C says, “I actually hate running when I’m standing outside at 5am freezing and wet but that feeling of achievement after a run - I can’t really describe it, it’s a mixture of exhaustion and exhilaration. Running has helped me to lose 6 stone, I’m healthier at 50 than at 30, running is personal but addictive, it’s the smiles from those who’ve just experienced the same challenges and success as you… in summary I hate the first mile and love the finish line.”

“To be a part of an inclusive family that does not judge is the best feeling, despite not being fast, despite walking parts, nobody minds, nobody frowns. I’m just congratulated on the achievement of making it round! Where else is this given so freely? Running also means I get to eat more cake and often with the people I ran with. Running has given me a life that makes me happier than I’ve ever been, it’s helped me to see places I didn’t know existed, meet people I wouldn’t have met and improved my fitness.” T.S has described parkrun amazingly here, you don’t need to run, you don’t need to be fast, everyone is friendly, everyone encourages you and you get to eat cake!

K.K also loves running for the amazing community feel, and discovering new places, she says. “Running makes me feel part of a kind and caring community. Every run is an adventure, meeting lovely people, seeing beautiful scenery and achieving goals. It’s not just fitness, its friendship and fun, with Conkers parkrun embodying the very best of the running community.”

Many of us can relate to K.G who says, “A sense of achievement. A feeling that I have done something that only a couple of years ago, I would have struggled with. A sense of freedom with your own thoughts, running with a group gives a feeling of help and support and the willingness to carry on and better myself. So, in a nutshell, running means so much to so many people, but to me, it means fun.”

For some of us running keeps us calm, and less irritable around stupid people! “At the moment running stops me from shouting at colleagues.” J.C

One of my favourite responses came from N.E, who I met volunteering (by the way have you ever volunteered at parkrun? If not why not?!)  When we’re back up and running (pun intended) why not give it a go (Like how I slipped that in there, Roger?) N.E said, “I hate running! I’m an accidental parkrunner. I came by mistake and was swept away by the atmosphere.”

Some of us like to run for the challenge, for the personal bests, for the runners high. “Running, for me, is the opportunity to challenge myself. That challenge to run a half a marathon, to knock a few seconds off a PB (very rare these days) even to challenge myself to just get off the sofa… running- I love it.” I.A

I would like to say thank you to those that shared their reasons - why we run can be very personal to ourselves, I was very emotional reading your responses and know that every single person who reads this will relate to one, if not all, of the responses. So, finally, here’s what running means to me. “Running, has taught me that I am capable of more than I could have ever imagined, running saved me and continues to save me from darker times. Running is my passion, my confidence, my self-esteem, my freedom, my therapy, my mental health and my physical health. Running has introduced me to the most wonderful supportive community. Thank you running for always having my back.”

Signed Sophie-Anne Pickett, the non-run run reporter extraordinaire.