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The view from the back

This is a post from my first guest blogger, Sally Brooks.

Quite simply, Sally is a joy to run with. A Green Heart Runners regular, she brings a positive attitude every time, has a great sense of humour, and, as you’ll see below, has achieved more with her running than she ever thought she would.

Thank you for being my first guest blogger and for all your support in the set-up and development of our club.

RR 💚

If you’d have asked me five years ago about running, I’d have immediately thought back to being the tiny asthmatic kid in PE always being picked last for things. It would have filled me with dread. But, a few years ago I decided to do the couch to 5k thing and, it was fantastic. Since then I have run on and off, and even did an advent challenge where I ran a mile a day throughout December in 2016

One thing I had never done until last year, is run with other people. Those fears and dreads of being the person at the back, the subject of ridicule or worse, sympathy, held me back. That is of course until Robbie set up the Green Heart Runners. I was heavily involved with the development of the Green Heart landscaping project through my day job, so when he asked if he could name his club after the space, my curiosity was piqued. I decided that it was worth a go. Due to injury, I hadn’t run in over a year, so it was a bit of a daunting challenge the first week I turned up.

It was a small group the first time I attended, but it was warm and friendly. We agreed a route and set off, and I felt my year’s absence from running. I started off with a bit of running, then a bit of walking, to get back into the swing of it. I went home slightly downhearted, feeling very much a failure. But then I tried to think about it differently. I had attended, I had started running again, and I would go again the following week. Eight months on, I now run once or twice a week. At Green Heart Runners I am perennially at the back of the pack. But I’m ok with that. I run to feel good, both physically and mentally and to meet likeminded people. I’m never going to be an athlete. I am however now able to run 5k fairly easily (and slowly) without stopping. That is a real achievement for the wheezy kid struggling through cross country in the 1990s!

So, if you ever see me, trailing at the back of a cheerful group of runners, please don’t feel sorry for me, or encourage me to go faster. I am doing far more than I ever imagined. I think about running like Charles Hamilton Sorley does in his poem, The Ungirt Runners.

The Ungirt Runners, by Charles Hamilton Sorley

We swing ungirded hips,
And lightened are our eyes,
The rain is on our lips,
We do not run for prize.
We know not whom we trust
Nor whitherward we fare,
But we run because we must
Through the great wide air.

The waters of the seas
Are troubled as by storm.
The tempest strips the trees
And does not leave them warm.
Does the tearing tempest pause?
Do the tree-tops ask it why?
So we run without a cause
‘Neath the big bare sky.

The rain is on our lips,
We do not run for prize.
But the storm the water whips
And the wave howls to the skies.
The winds arise and strike it
And scatter it like sand,
And we run because we like it
Through the broad bright land.

You can follow Sally on Twitter @sallyxbrooks

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