Running, the good, the bad and the ugly

Running, sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad and sometimes it’s downright ugly! I’ve been running since 2016 so I have found that I have experienced all three at some point over the last 4 years.


The Good


The people. For something that is probably seen as a solo activity you don’t half meet some great people. Between parkrun and my running club I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some great people along the way, some of which I am lucky enough to now call my friends. People of different ages and backgrounds, whose paths I probably wouldn’t have crossed in my normal everyday life. You meet some of the most supportive, encouraging and positive people you could hope to meet. I am regularly amazed and inspired by their achievements.


Confidence and self-belief. I believe that regardless of your ability, with time and maybe a little patience then your confidence will increase. For some that will be body confidence as they see their body change as they get fitter. For others it could be achieving something that they never thought possible such as running a marathon or doing something that takes them out of their comfort zone such as being a run director at parkrun. If you had asked me back in January 2016 if I thought that a few years later that I would complete a run leader course and be responsible for getting a group of runners through a session safely then I probably would have laughed at you!


Physical and mental health. I’ve seen some tremendous physical transformations that some people have achieved through running. People for who walking 5km probably once felt like running a marathon at one stage, now they are running half marathons and marathons! Life can be hard sometimes and we have challenges and experiences thrown at us that we were never expecting to have to face or not at this stage of our lives. The current environment that we all find ourselves in can be mentally challenging and I have no doubt that for some, being able to get outside and run regardless of the pace or distance is helping them cope with what we currently facing.


Cake! Runners seem to love cake and quite often at my local parkrun there is a special occasion to celebrate that normally involves cake. My running club also has a number of keen bakers, some of which are very talented and some novices like myself. However, cake is always good for team morale at an event!

SHM 02

The Bad


Injuries. As a runner you can pretty much guarantee that at some stage you are going to get injured. As someone who has not been able to run as much as he would like over the last 9 months, I can confirm that being injured sucks! Whilst picking up an injury can just be bad luck; it can often be our bodies way of saying we are doing something wrong such as doing too much and not giving our bodies the chance to recover. Don’t under estimate the importance of spending time relaxing on the sofa!


If you are looking for a glamourous hobby then running is probably not the best choice. This is a hobby that includes, chaffing, blisters, black toenails and some truly terrible running photos at times. It’s hard to look great when you are dripping in sweat or your face is covered in salt stains.


Inequality between the sexes. Despite us being in 2020 cross country events appears to be very much stuck in the past. In cross country races the men and women often race over different distances with the men racing 4-5 km’s further than the ladies. I have no doubt that the majority of women who take part in cross country races want to race over the same distances as their male counterparts. If women can run marathons and half marathons then they are more than capable of running another 4-5 km at a cross country race. Hopefully sooner rather than later cross country will enter the 21st century and this debate over gender inequality will come to an end.

Injury 05

The Ugly


Harassment and abuse. Sadly, running does have its ugly side. According to a Runners World survey, 84% of women said that they have been the on the receiving end of some form of harassment whilst out running. This includes physical actions like groping, or being followed or flashed, as well as subtler forms like catcalls, honks, and lewd comments. Nobody should have to experience such unacceptable levels of behaviour and yes catcalls, honks and lewd comments are all unacceptable. I’m sure that the men doing this would be full of rage if it happened to their partner, daughter or mother so why in 2020 some men still think that this behaviour is acceptable is beyond me. I’ve been on the receiving end of abuse myself in the past. I once one on a run where during the course of my long run I had a group of lads try and trip me up, a group of teenagers deliberately try and block the path in front of me and then some school kids shouting abuse at me.




Twitter: @bobbystew1


Instagram: @bobbystew13


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