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My Running Journey by Revd. Andrew
My Running Journey, like many others, begins with a seeking for a way to improve my health. Actually it began when someone said I was getting fat! The truth is that I was. I was always an overweight child and the progressed into adulthood and taking part in any form of physical activity was never on the agenda but with a family history of health issues and this latest comment the decision was made to do something about it.
 
Running looked like the safest option, I could pick up some trainers and run on my own at a time when no one else was around to laugh at me. 5am in the morning on a secluded stretch of pavement I began using the NHS couch to 5k App and learned to run. When distance began to increase I then began to drive to a local nature reserve with good paths, again as early as possible, to continue with my progress and it really did feel like progress. Each week I would run further or faster or both and as the weight and my physical health was beginning to improve I was truly hooked. I was hooked on a form of physical exercise!
The physical benefits were not always linear, weight loss sometimes fluctuated but in three and a half years I have lost over 50kg increased lean muscle mass and have never felt as strong as I do right now.
 
This was only one small part of my journey though.
 
I got invited to my Local park (Lincoln UK) and the welcome, the fellowship and the support was simply amazing. I did my first Parkrun that day in 50:03 and felt amazing so I went back the next week and the next and ... well you know the pattern. 
 
I thought I would challenge myself a little bit more so I ran the Lincoln City 10k for L.I.V.E.S, taking part in my first race and raising money for a good cause. It was an amazing experience and one that I still look back upon with great fondness.
I have since taken part in many races up to and including the Marathon distance and some interesting off road trail events. 
I took the step of joining a running club to and this is when I knew things were getting serious. Being part of a running club allows me to connect with like-minded people and share experiences, and the driving to events. It has also allowed me to share my passion for running with others. My Sports Therapist Emma at Lincsinjury.co.uk (yep I’ve had a few “niggles” on my journey) invited me to talk about creating a new Running Club, along with a few mutual friends, a club with a focus on Strength and Conditioning as a foundation for helping people of all abilities improve their fitness and their running and remaining as injury free as possible.
 
With the support of my club (lincs-sc-runclub.co.uk) I attended a Leadership in Running Fitness course with England Athletics to help me develop my own skills and better enable me to help others and I also gained a level 3 qualification in Personal Training. Fitness and Running have become integral to my life.
The unexpected and truly most important thing though has been my mental well-being and the positive impact running has on me. Being outdoors raises my mood, gives me space to decompress and helps me feel so much better. There is a level accountability to Running and if you are not your usual self, running at pace etc. then we ask each other if everything is ok, something we struggle to do most of the time in the wider world.
 
I have also met some amazing friends who genuinely care and if I am low are willing to go out for a chatty run or a hard session with little talking but company if that is what is needed. Even when not running through injury, rest or taper I still like to engage with the running community through volunteering, run leading and assisting with coaching other runners. Whilst I will always promote physical wellness, injury prevention, strength and conditioning my passion and new found drive is to work with others to develop the whole person of which Mental wellbeing and mindset is an integral part.
Next for me will be a coaching qualification as well as some CPD around strength and conditioning. I will get a few more marathons in the bag and hopefully bring my times down at all distances  But more than anything I just want to keep running and helping others in their journeys.