How many times have I heard people utter these words? The truth is once upon a time I felt the same.
I recall one winter venturing out for a run and finding myself in a telephone box calling my then girlfriend (now x-wife) begging her to pick me up, I had only made it a mile down the road and had been out for ten minutes. I think I went home and ordered a pizza.
I recall that my weight had crept up on me and although I simply told myself I was bulking up and I that I was obviously in the shape of ‘The Rock’ two successive events prompted me to experiment with running. Firstly my father pinching some fat from my stomach (obviously a magic trick) and secondly and horrifyingly my local rugby club asking me to move to prop from my beloved position on the wing. The truth is in hindsight I looked like ‘Spongebob Squarepants’
‘I’m not a natural runner’ I told myself. That is until my ex-wife and I divorced. Feeling at an all time low and with nothing to lose I purchased myself a pair of trainers and downloaded the Nike running app on my I-phone. I shuffled around our local park to start with and may well have been lapped by the resident ducks on a few occasions. However, no matter how much I despised the actual running at the time, nothing could deny me the buzz that came from the endorphin rush on completing each outing.
Within days and weeks people asked ‘Have you lost weight?” More than this though I soon realised that the natural rush I gained from each and every run was an antidote to every negative that I felt at the time. I wasn’t a natural runner though I told myself.
Yet since then I have run eight half marathons, a marathon and countless other races. My most recent race (Cardiff 10km) was last weekend. Poignantly I met a close friend and his family prior to the race who had apprehensively and nervously entered the race. I couldn’t help but notice following their fantastic completion of the race that in various social media posts there were references to ‘not being a natural runner’.
From my point of view there is no such thing. From the moment you pull on a pair of trainers and hit the road you are part of the fantastic running community and you are indeed ‘a natural runner’.
Enjoy the escapism and reap the health benefits both physical and mental. The best part about running is that it is natural and the competition only comes from within. You can compete with others, yourself or just enjoy the fact that you have become ‘a natural runner’ by the very nature that you are running.