Hello and welcome back to The Uphill Runner: re-booted for 2021. I hope you all managed to stay safe and positive in your own way to get through 2020, whether that meant running more, running less, or taking a break from running altogether.
It is strange but true to say that I knew I would not be running the Paris Marathon 2020 weeks before we first heard any news about a new disease spreading in the Wuhan province of China, and even longer before COVID-19 reached Europe’s shores and phrases like self-isolate, support bubble and social distancing became part of our daily vocabulary. That’s because in September 2019, I found out that I was expecting my son, due in April 2020.
The news that I had unexpectedly fallen pregnant triggered a whirlwind of emotions. Disappointment not to be running the marathon was somewhere among them, but far higher up the list was the feeling that I was letting down the friend I had persuaded into running the marathon with me. Now, not only would I not be running it with her, but I wouldn’t even be able to travel to Paris and support her from the sidelines, being less than two weeks away from giving birth to my baby boy. Little did we know that she wouldn’t be running 26.2 miles across Paris in the spring either - nobody would be.
I guess achieving a bucket list goal of running a marathon was just not meant to be for me (alongside thousands of other runners) last year.
2020 has now been and gone and I really hope that this is the year that we will be able to welcome back races including marathons as we know and love them - the crowds of supporters cheering you on through those final few hundred metres to the finish line, the buzz of the runners around you waiting for that starting gun, the feeling of running as part of a community. But even if we don’t quite get there in 2021, I know that this is the year that I will run my first miles for over 12 months. These are times to be positive about the small things, right?!
At first I felt like a fraud to be someone who claimed to have a passion for running and yet obliged to admit that I hadn’t run a single mile in 2020. But since having a baby, my perspective has shifted. Now I can look back on 2020 as a pause in my running journey rather than a full stop. I took a year off running because that was what my situation and my body needed, but I can still call myself a runner as soon as I lace up my trainers again. It doesn’t matter how far or how fast you go, what matters is that you get out there and do as much or as little as you can on that given day, month, or even year.
My ultimate running goal remains to run a marathon. Hopefully it will still be Paris, but who knows? For now though, I’m going back to concentrating on my original goal of running as regularly as I can manage - the only difference is, now I’ve got a little one in tow! Hopefully we’ll be able to run our first parkrun together this year too (as long as lockdown is lifted before December!).
So this year I encourage you to reject the idea that you need to re-invent yourself just because it’s January. The person you already are is more than enough. For me at least, it may be a new year, but I’m focusing on old goals.
If you want to keep me company as I dip my toes back into the running waters, feel free to subscribe to my blog by entering your email at the bottom of the page or follow me on Instagram @the_uphill_runner.