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A Brand New Life

by Jen Entwistle (RRC226)

I still find it strange to call myself an ‘ultra marathon runner’, but hey, I run distances greater than marathons so I guess that’s what I am now.

Running is the thing that motivates me every single day and I couldn’t imagine my life without it.

Have I always been a runner?

Nope.

Absolutely not.

I was a typical millennial party girl, out Thursday to Sunday, drinking, smoking and generally living quite miserably then in 2015, the worst thing happened, I lost my mum. My best friend, my everything. I don’t think anything can prepare you for such a horrendous event.

As you can imagine, the grief took over and my life went spiralling out of control quite rapidly. I was drinking very heavily, smoking 20 cigarettes a day, racking up credit card debt and engaging frequently in what only can be described as ‘casual relationships’.

Something had to give.

After confiding in my good friend Paul that I wasn’t coping, he suggested I tried parkrun. Ha parkrun?! I can’t even remember the last time I ran, maybe in school? Or maybe 2 mins on a treadmill years ago in a bid to lose some weight.

I decided to start running by myself before I braved parkrun. So I put on some old ‘active wear’, some gym shoes and an underwired bra (ouch!) and set off. I ran round this HUGE field, and I loathed every second of it, when I got in I checked my running app (no fancy watches back then ha), I thought, 'that must be 5K, it’s got to be...' It was 0.44 miles LOL.

A couple of weeks later, after a few more painful runs, the day of parkrun came, I was terrified. I met up with Paul and walked to the start. I should mention here that Paul is a super fast lean running machine so he obviously left me for dust. I plodded, huffed and sweated round parkrun in a respectable 42 minutes.

I don’t want to sound like a terrible cliché, so I won’t say this parkrun completely changed my life but it most certainly sparked a massive change for the better.

From this point I started eating better, walking lots and running. The benefits of eating well and implementing regular exercise soon became apparent, which sounds extremely obvious, but I think sometimes you have to experience these things first hand.

I fell in love with running, it stopped becoming a chore and instead became a form of escapism, an anxiety reliever, a massive confidence booster and so much more.

Another amazing thing running brought to my life is the people. 

People from all walks of life that you would never usually meet. I especially have felt welcome from Ramsbottom Running Club, everyone is so friendly and welcoming.

Four years, seven marathons and four ultramarathons down the line, I can safely say that I am the healthiest, strongest version of myself that I have ever been.

Running has had a positive impact on so many areas of my life, but especially on my mental health and general wellbeing.

 

I hope you've enjoyed reading my personal journey!

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