My running journey by Paula McIntosh

These days when I go away for a weekend in a lodge in Griffon Forest near York, I find myself getting up early and doing a 5k before breakfast.

What’s happened to me? What am I doing running on holiday?

Looking back, I remember being away a couple of years ago and my cousin's partner went for a run during one of the afternoons. 

I think that must have planted a seed in my mind. The freedom to be able to just lace up wherever you are and go exploring somewhere new.

I completed Couch to 5K in September 2018 and I kept up the running until it got icy underfoot and it didn't feel safe. 

But by the turn of 2019, I signed up to do a duathlon (5k run, 20k bike, 2.5k run) so that spurred me on to pick up the training.  

I went to my first parkrun in June 2019 and have been most weeks since. Before lockdown, I had done 37 parkruns in six locations, but I still consider myself a bit of a newbie at the whole thing.

I have also completed some other events, mainly 10ks, and have really enjoyed the friendly nature and support. 

During lockdown, I've entered a few virtual events, which has kept me motivated

I'm never going to break any records. I am competitive against myself and want to improve. At over 50, I'm probably the fittest I've ever been.

I stumbled across FORDY RUNS on Facebook. I have joined the BSL lessons and the book club. I have also recently met up with FORDY runners in South Shields and in Hebburn as the satellite groups there are formed.

Missing the chance to run with the South Shields group is the one downside of this trip.

But it was great to just run in the fresh air, with hares and squirrels for company. Very different from my urban run at home. It felt like forest bathing, or shinrin yoku, as the Japanese call it. 

That's another reason why running is so awesome.It's so portable. I just needed to pack my kit and I'm all set.

It also means that I can thoroughly enjoy the afternoon tea.

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