The Secret Runner

Sharon, the secret runner, and her son wearing medals at the end of Race for Life
Published
23rd August 2019
Written by
Energise Me

Sharon, our Strategic Lead for Children and Young People, talks about becoming a secret runner and embarking on a new challenge to improve her fitness and activity levels.

I was once an emphatic hockey player. In my university days, I played Rugby for Welsh Students. I even ran half marathons but time has taken its toll on this once sports ready body. Two children and several knee surgeries later I had slipped into a bit of an ‘inactive’. As a family, I guess we are pretty active walking and cycling at weekends and going on skiing holidays and adventures. But, to be honest, I was certainly the least fit I had been in years.   

After some months of deliberating, I decided I should actually get off my backside and get out there and do something. So I embarked on some secret running! I downloaded the Couch to 5km app and started my journey back to some level of fitness.

Becoming a secret runner

So why in secret (although my husband and a very good friend knew)? Well, I work for a charity that ‘Beats inactivity’. In all honesty, I was a little embarrassed that I was one of those inactives – the ones we are trying to convert! I was also afraid of failure. What if I said I was going to do it and I didn’t or couldn’t? Would people judge me? 

So, who would know it, I became a slightly obsessed runner. I was squeezing in runs early morning before the family were even out of bed and walking to do the school drop off so I could run the long way home and setting aside ‘me time’ to allow the 30 minutes I needed to get a run in. Before I knew it I had got to the end of the 9-week programme and was running for 30 minutes without stopping.

Running through emotionally difficult times

A few weeks after I started running, my Mum passed away suddenly from undiagnosed Bowel Cancer. It was quite a shock, but I truly believe the time I was focusing on running during this period helped me through the emotionally difficult times. It’s true being physically active helps your mental health and well being; I have definitely seen the benefits.

With the end of my Couch to 5k programme being around the same time as the Southampton Race for Life I decided to celebrate my Mum, and all the support and encouragement she gave me to be active in my youth. I ran the 5km Race for life in her memory and I was delighted that my 10-year-old son ran too.  

Sticking with it

Now it’s about maintenance. I just need to keep up and not let it slip. I have promised myself I will run at least a couple of times a week, and now it’s no secret I’ve got my friends and colleagues to remind me to keep it up.

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