Andy Hawthorne

Andy Hawthorne

Projects, photos and running

22 Jun 2020

One Reason for Running

Reading time: 3 minute(s) - 600 words

People go running for lots of reasons but many won’t have thought of this one.

I go running because it’s the only form of sport that doesn’t judge me. Let me explain…

When I was at school I played in the school football team, rugby team and cricket team. I also had a stint in the school basketball team.

Here’s the thing: I was there to make up the numbers in all those teams. Because I was shit at all those sports. All of them.

When I joined the army I still thought I could do sport. So I joined the regimental cross country team, the triathlon team and the cross country skiing team. I also played for the rugby team a few times.

Guess what?

I was shit at all those sports, too. Even though I was older and fitter.

Once I left the army I rode a bike. I didn’t compete in any races. I did it for fitness and for enjoyment. I also cycled a 40-mile round trip to work.

Guess what?

Yep, you guessed it… I wasn’t all that good at all. Even not competing, I knew my cycling performance was… a bit pants.

There was a long spell after that where I didn’t so anything to stay fit. And me being me, I was lucky enough to put a lot of weight on. It doesn’t happen to some people. But it did for me.

By the time I was in my forties, I’d ballooned big time. I was massively overweight and unfit - really unfit.

So I started running.

I almost don’t need to say it do I? Yep, I was terrible.

Not only that, but I got injured time and time again. My feet were blistered, I had terrible shin splints, sore knees and so on.

Some of the injuries were caused by me being fat. Some were caused by the fact that I hadn’t exercised for years.

But Sir Winston Churchill once said:

If you’re going through hell, keep going

So I did. Because there was no choice. I had to lose weight for the sake of my health.

But a funny thing happened. The battle to keep going was real. But it wasn’t hard because I liked it. I could see the progress I was making in terms of weight loss.

My running performance was still rubbish. And it was going to stay that way for years to come. But I was getting fitter and I was losing weight.

Around that time I saw this quote:

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.

So I thought: right, I’ll keep going, then

Also around that time, I realised another major thing.

Running for me is a solitary pursuit. I like it that way. There’s no one else to worry about trying to keep up with. And that also means there’s no judgement. Running does not judge you. It is something you do. That’s it.

I haven’t looked back since then. I’m running better now than ever before. And I’ve lost much more weight. So I think old Aristotle was right.

So that’s my reason for running. You stick at it and it works.

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