The thing about running is that once you get the bug, really get the bug, you become evangelical. You could talk about running with the same gusto and tirelessness that newly pregnant women discuss their growing bellies or impending births. For some (ehem…) it is almost the only thing you want to talk about; shoes, distance, speed, kit, the best app… You rant about the runner’s high and how that left you feeling better than a good orgasm. Running “changed your life” you will tell anyone who will listen. And after a while it will only be a select few who are polite enough to stick around and pretend to be interested so you might even start a blog to keep on raving.
But sometimes, just sometimes, your gibbering and obvious obsession plants a seed in the listener. You get asked questions “how did you start”, “where do you run”.. You can see the slight glint in their eye, that glint that says that they have gone from “Oh, I could never run” to “maybe I could run too”.. I had a long conversation with another mother at the school gate about how running is my therapy; how it is the time for me to get away from my kids, the husband and the piles of laundry. When you are running that is all you can do – you don’t have to stress about tidying up the flat or prepping dinner. All you need to do is put one foot in front of the other and not get killed when you cross a road.A few days later she showed up at the pick-up in a brand new running kit; she had started running to the school from work, sold on the idea of free therapy but soon hooked by the endorphins.
Then there was the mother (I meet most of the people I know via my son – welcome to your midlife..) who listened to me rant at the once-a-term boozy gathering. She now has a bright pink running kit and a clear predisposition for running as she has already built up to 4km runs in a few sessions.
Running is so easy to do, and so cheap – no monthly memberships and no hassle. Just lace up and and run. Most of us probably started running to lose weight or to make our bodies stronger. It was all about the physical. But I am betting that it is the emotional and the psychological side that keeps us running. It is that feeling of “needing a hit” that has made me understand other addicts. Unlike those pushing their crack pipe onto others, I am proud to be sharing my habit. As long as they don’t outrun me, that is..