Running is a team sport.

First things first, I need to give you an update on this weekend’s Goal Race That Never Was- and I promise I will!- but today I wanted to chat about the perception that running is an individual endeavour. To some extent, that assumption is true. For instance, I took up running partly to get me out of the house when things got overwhelming; and I still relish the prospect of some quality downtime, completely alone, pounding the pavements of London. But the more I think about it, the more I realise that running is inherently a team sport; it’s about connections with other people.

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On so many occasions, I’ve met a complete stranger in the final throes of a race; swapped life stories between panted breaths, and pushed through to the finish. I run with a club, and have met some of the most supportive, patient and badass runners you could hope to encounter. And then there’s the online community, which has been the source of so much encouragement and support.

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Even aside from that, there are so many people who make my running possible and enjoyable, and whom I’m incredibly grateful for. Here are just a few of them:

1. Physio Andrew

Andrew is my voice of reason when it comes to training. He understands the mind of a slightly obsessive personality, and is overwhelmingly realistic when it comes to his recommendations. He only gives one or two very specific exercises to do, and is fairly non-judgemental, meaning I can be honest about the slightly nuts or ill-advised things I did to end up back in his office.

2. Coach Andy

Andy’s the President of our Athletics Club, and is honestly one of the kindest people I know. He’s been running for about 7 years, and has made significant progress over that time, which is something he wants to help others achieve. He fields countless questions from panicked, confused or inexperienced runners with endless patience, for which I’m eternally grateful.

3. My coworkers

They put up with a lot, bless them. From my endless run chat to countless training runs and the occasional bout of brain fog, they’re very supportive of my endeavours. Plus, the bosses are both runners, which helps when I have to leave early for an emergency physio appointment.

4. Mum and Dad

My Mum and Dad haven’t always totally understood my need to run, but they’re gradually getting on board! My Dad used to run, and to be honest I think he gets slightly jealous that I can take off running whilst he can’t, but he always shows an interest. My Mum, on the other hand, doesn’t get the sport at all, but bless her, she tries to show enthusiasm!

5. Besties Ben and Josh

From hangry meltdowns and training panics to the insistence of social activities that either involve working out or sitting down (cinema anyone?!) they put up with a lot. Plus, they travelled all the way to Manchester to support me at mile 25 of the marathon, and bought me a chicken burger at the end. Fried chicken has never tasted so good.

6. Sports Massage Therapist Prim

Prim is hands down one of the best Sports Massage Therapists out there- I only came to appreciate him when he wasn’t available and I had to find someone else for an emergency session. The difference was remarkable! He takes a really holistic view at your whole body, and listens to what you want and need when it comes to the session.

7. Internet Friends

The amount of encouragement I’ve received from relative strangers has been phenomenal, whether that be through UKRunchat or this very blog. It’s great to have a sense of community in a sport that can often feel a bit isolating.

8. Cheerleader Geni

Geni is one of my closest friends, and she never fails me as chief cheerleader on Team Pip. She’s always got time to ask about my running, and talks me up when I need that extra bit of motivation. Plus she’s always got Real Talk for me when I’m beating myself up or downplaying my achievements.

9. Training Buddy Jo

Whilst I have a lot of love for my fellow City Runners, your best training partners are those who are in your pace range! Jo is a bit faster than me, but we often train together, and swap advice. Also, we’ve exchanged countless side-eyes during interval training when the coach has told us what’s in store. She just finished her first marathon in under four hours, and bossed it the entire way round!

10. Training Buddies Tabs and Ashley

Ashley’s great to train with on long, slow runs. We’ve basically formed the “Run Slow and Gossip” group at City Athletics. We have a standing Thursday night “fitness & dinner” date, which always gives me the motivation to work out. Then there’s Tabby, who is an overwhelming source of positivity in my running life, giving me encouragement and reminding me not to beat myself up over the small things. She has her own blog, and will be guest blogging here very soon, with her take on rediscovering the joy in running.

Brb whilst I get a little weepy. Here’s to running as a team sport, and surrounding yourself with people who get it!

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Who makes your running possible? Make sure you thank them!

Lots of love,

Pippa

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