When I was little, I loved sport. I did classic activities like ballet, horse riding and tennis and at school I loved rounders and netball. I was obsessed with horses and was lucky enough to have my own and I played tennis every Friday night. My older brother made me play endless hours of cricket and rugby. I spent many an hour in the garden either having cricket or rugby balls thrown at me, being tackled to the ground or learning to spin pass. I vividly remember laughing hysterically playing badminton in the garden – it’s funny when the shuttlecock gets stuck in the racquet, no?! However outside of garden games, the reality was that the two main hobbies I did, riding and tennis were actually quite solitary sports. I often spent weekends on my own at the stables because people went at odd hours to do their horses and playing tennis, we regularly played singles matches, so I never had that feeling of being in a ‘team’. When my teenage years hit, unsurprisingly I started to find these solo sports rather boring. This, coupled with a move to a new school for sixth form and the freedom that I was given, meant that my previous love of sport went out of the window. No longer made to do it as a compulsory lesson, I stopped completely. With my sports mad brother at University and no more garden games, the tennis club was ditched and my lovely horse was sold. Given the option to be lazy, I quite happily took it.
Running, ah running, we have a bit of a love/hate relationship going on. I hate doing it but I love how it makes me feel afterwards. I get a buzz knowing that I’ve done some exercise. I first started running when I was living with my sister in London, about ten years ago. Around this time, I was eating really badly, gorging on wine and beer, pasta and cheese. And despite knowing that I had a serious muffin top, I was massively in denial. I weighed myself one day and nearly had a heart attack, as I saw I was tipping the scales at around 10 and a half stone. As a fairly small woman, at 5ft 3, this didn’t sit well with me, quite literally. I made the decision then and there to go for a run. Possibly not the best decision at the time, as it was a really hot day. I just about made it to the end of the road without my head exploding! From that day on, I tried to go running at least twice a week to get myself fit.
You know that moment when you’re having a conversation with a friend, half listening, agreeing and nodding along then all of a sudden they’re thanking you profusely? Yes? Well, a few months ago my lovely friend Dawn and I were chatting about her being pregnant and running, and it was all sunshine and loveliness, the next thing I knew, Dawn was assigning various emails over to me and apparently I’d agreed to run a half marathon in her place in October, damnit, concentrate Emma! The deal was that I’d be running for Macmillan, Dawn’s chosen charity and as it happens that’s a good thing as they’d be who I’d choose to run for anyway. A good friend, Carl, who was THE life and soul died from bowel cancer three years ago, he was my age. Carl was well looked after and cared for by Macmillan nurses, so Carlos, this one’s for you buddy.