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Sprinting through streets and pages

I fell in love with running in the same way I fell in love with reading.

For neither is a title you need to earn.

If you pick up a book today, for the first time in your life, and read five pages. You’re a reader.

If you lace up your trainers, head out your front door, and run to the end of the road. You’re a runner.

There’s just something so very special about these two loves of mine. I think it’s how they don’t really require anything special at all.

You don’t need to be intelligent, gifted, talented, beautiful, happy or sad, to be a reader.

You don’t need to have money, skills, time, friends, training, or confidence, to be a runner.

You can just…. start. Right now. Exactly as you are. You’re ready.

Maybe you’d only manage a page, reading sentences several times over. Maybe you’d only run to the nearest corner, panting the whole way.

But it counts, you’ve won, the progress has been made.

You’ve already earned that title.

I always found I wasn’t good enough for any titles. I wasn’t academic. I wasn’t talented. I wasn’t driven.

I got bored of every life I tried to live and wondered if I would ever find what I was looking for. The holy grail that would finally make me, me.

But I was there all along.

I always told myself there was nothing special about being a reader, that there are so many people that can read.

Which is true.

But they don’t choose reading.

And that’s okay, It’s more than okay. They choose the things that make them, them.

But I choose to be a reader. I chose again and again. For thirty years. For more.

And it’s the choosing that makes it the most special title of all.

And over these last few years, I’ve chosen to be a runner.

I don’t think I’m very good at it. Sometimes I think I'm quite terrible.

Some days I can run ten k easily, some days I can’t run two.

Some days I can sprint, tearing through streets and pages.

Other days I can’t focus. I stare at my phone, I numb my brain, I don’t leave my house.

But that’s the beauty of these two loves of mine.

They are always there.

They never judge, never shame.

If I abandon them for weeks on end, they welcome me back like no time has passed at all.

I don’t need to prepare, to think, to plan.

I don’t need anyones permission. They are entirely for me.

I can have the thought, get up, lace my trainers and go.

I can race while the world still sleeps, my favourite playlist, my heart pounding, the most powerful woman in the world.

I can force myself out after a bad day, orchestral breaking my heart, tears falling in the rain, a release of pain.

I can be so utterly transfixed by the beautiful colours in the sky, consumed with wonder, that I barely run at all.

Or I can pick up a book, that unconditional constant I’ve had throughout my life.

I can read hundreds of pages in a sitting, leaving this world behind to adventure somewhere new.

I can go weeks where I barely read at all, forcing my eyes to take in the words while my mind refuses to see.

Every now and again, I can be so completely enchanted with my own life, that I don’t want to escape it. I don’t want to miss a moment of it.

It all counts.

Over and over, I find myself. In the magic of the words in a story, or the beat of my feet on the pavement.

Both teach perseverance, both fuel my dreams.

Both offer solace, and both set me free.

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