Some people like the gym, some like team sports, some like doing nothing.
I happen to like nearly every sport I’ve tried but massively dislike the gym and especially lifting weights, probably due to my twig-like arms and weak upper body.
In fact, I quit the gym in December because I was spending most of my time on a treadmill (when I could run outside) or in the sauna/steam room (when I could just turn up the central heating or leave the shower on).
But if I like something, there is a fair chance you will hear about it.
You will also see me jump straight in to buying as much kit as my wallet can handle.
In my bedroom I currently have a cricket bat, a putter and golf shoes, an AFL ball, football boots x 3, an indoor football, squash trainers, skipping rope (or speed rope if I’m trying not to sound as girly), goggles, cycle helmet and two hockey balls.
This enthusiasm also translates to trying to involve anyone I know in said sport or activity.
I have no problem asking somebody to play squash or go swimming but for some reason, running remains a tough sell.
Rolled eyes, shaking heads and comments about knees tend to be the first reactions followed by excuses about time, cold and rain/weather.
And with that, I usually just shut up and try to forget I ever asked.
Except for my family because unfortunately they can’t get away so easily!
Last week I went to Southampton parkrun with my brother, my mum and her partner.
Toby (brother) and Chris (mum’s partner) had already run half a half marathon before but were going to their first parkrun.
Deb (mum) hadn’t run further than 3k which had been earlier in the week. This was to be her first parkrun and furthest ever run. It was also going to be her first “race” (I know it isn’t a race!).
The reason this is significant is that even though it isn’t a race, there is still the possibility of coming “last”.
This is a terrifying idea for most people but especially so if you don’t really do sports and is often a product of being the kid who was picked last at school (happened to me – chubby kid with glasses doesn’t really scream athleticism).
So as Toby took off to try and run 25 minutes, with trepidation Deb set off at the back of 500 Saturday morning runners with Chris and me for company/encouragement.
Almost instantly, we were cut adrift from the main group along with a small band of fellow back-markers.
The jokes about finishing last began to be exchanged as we chatted to those around us and after around 1k, our slow paced run turned into a walk/run series of overtaking and being overtaken by the same people.
It was like a slow motion version of Mario Kart with “the lead” changing hands constantly.
If this part was jovial, the worst part came as just over 1.5k in, a cyclist came up behind ringing his bell and just behind him, a blur of legs in short shorts and a white vest flew by.
We had been lapped. We were about to be lapped by a lot, lot more people.
It could’ve been the time to throw in the towel as first a stream and then a river of runners flowed past us but we kept to one side, put on a brave face and kept going.
The second loop was even slower as we walked and ran back up the hill using trees and lampposts as targets in a game of fartlek.
And then, as we finished the 2nd lap, the realisation that hits every runner struck like a bolt of lightning; we were going to make it.
We could see the finishing straight and the crowds milling around. The legs that had hurt just seconds ago now had energy.
My brother was stood waiting and waving us on. My mum began to move faster and I cheered her forward.
We crossed the finish line almost hand in hand with another of slower winners and even though we had probably held up the volunteers from their breakfast, they scanned our codes with smiles on their faces.
In the spring sunshine on Southampton Common, my mum had completed her furthest ever run in just over 40 minutes.
This is just under double my quickest time 5k time but it was one of the best runs I have ever done because not only had I welcomed someone else to parkrun but had shown my mum that running is fun or at least the feeling afterwards is fun.
And talking of breakfast, we then went straight to a pub and had this. Perfect.