For me it was about getting a little fitter, perhaps losing a little weight. This has nothing to do with why I run now and why I’m about to embark on my second London Marathon despite my first being pretty much an unmitigated disaster!
So why do it? At the heart of it it’s about the people I’ve met, the confidence I’ve gained and the community I’m now very proudly part of. Running has opened up a new world for me and made me a happier person for it.
And I know I am so fortunate I can run – I have the support, opportunities and the freedoms that so many don’t.
This is why I’m supporting Free to Run– an organisation dedicated to supporting women and girls into running and other activities in areas affected by conflict; and supporting those who have been forced to flee and live as refugees. And what’s more, opportunities are created for women and men to participate together including mixed gender teams from Afghanistan running ultra-marathons, proving that cultural norms can be challenged for the better.
This is about building confidence, challenging social norms about what women and girls can achieve and building community.
Free to Run are doing fantastic work and have inspired many to get involved. Do go to their site and read more – there are so many fantastic stories like
· Zainab, one of the Free to Run Ambassadors, who became the first Afghan woman to run a full marathon in her country and
· Nelofar, another Free to Run Ambassador and ultra athlete who started a running club of 20 women in the North of Afghanistan and successfully organized a half marathon week for international women’s day and
· The refugee running team in Hong Kong who received an award from the local running community for their achievements.
Perhaps one day I’ll have the chance to meet and run with some of these amazing women and men!
Check out some of their international media coverage.
Thanks and please support and important work of Free to Run in improving the lives of women and girls.
You can donate at my JustGiving page here*
Or donate directly at Free to Run
I would also encourage you to follow Free to Run on Twitter and Instagram @freetorunngo and share their work and amazing successes.