22 May

My Ten Year Friendship

Chris Broadbent

It only occurred to me when someone asked the question recently. I have been running for 10 years now, so I guess that makes 2013 a special anniversary for me and my good friend running.

I often think of running as a friend of mine, however odd the description might be. I have learned from running, running has helped me in tougher times and has been there with me in some of the best times of my life.

If that's not a friend, then I don't know what is. Perhaps it's a little self-indulgent to write entirely about my own life in running. But I will only do it every ten years.

That's the thing with running. I feel I now have a friend for life, one that will be with me through each decade. Here's just five things that this friendship has given me:

There have been times - plenty of them - where I have been really struggling in a race, sometimes even in a training session. But I have always made it through. I have doubted myself, even contemplated pulling out on numerous occasions. But I have completed race after race, sometimes even pushing myself to a PB. It has taught me what a little courage can do, in my life away from running as well as in running.

Whenever, I have been facing problems either in my personal or work life, a run has always helped clear my mind. Almost without fail, I have felt much more able to tackle an issue after a run than beforehand.

Ok, it might be stretching it a bit. Running hasn't halted the march of time. But as I near 40, I feel fitter and healthier than I ever would have imagined being this age 10 years ago.

My life in running hasn't ever threatened to reach Olympic heights. Mo Farah has little to worry about. But in running, there is something to achieve for everyone. For me, the occasional top ten result, a particularly challenging race completed or even a new PB have been hugely rewarding. With achievement has come a boost to self-esteem and a fillip for the confidence.

I have travelled to races around the UK and abroad and have embraced the simple joy of running with like-minded people in places I would otherwise have not been. Even in training at home or on holiday, the opportunity to lace on my trainers and simply explore has given me a greater sense of adventure. Would I have seen that lake, that coastline or ever visited that park without running? Maybe, but possibly not.

Thank you running. Here's to the next 10, 20, 30 and 40 years.