Running. Love or hate it, it can be an amazing tool to facilitate enormous social and personal impact.
My journey with running began over 25 years ago. I hated it. I was not good at it. It hurt and it was essentially forced upon me to help me lose weight. I was very overweight as a child and this was how my dad helped me get fit. Leaving the judgement aside my experience as a runner has evolved so much since then.
Moving through different stages of my life, it has always been a corner stone that I could turn to, and our relationship with each other has gone through some tough times. But we keep coming back together.
My perception of running and health and fitness changed significantly when I became involved with Can Too in 2008. Here I could see that exercise could be more than a means of self improvement. Exercise could be a powerful tool to help heal, to create hope and to impact powerful social change. Can Too taught me the power of meaningful connections, supportive communities and running.
The work that Can Too continue to do today, I personally believe, is creating a paradigm shift in the health and wellness community. The fitness industry has a powerful impact on human transformation in more ways than one, and harnessed with the intention of not just supporting individual goals but community improvement could completely change the landscape we live in - for the better!
Particularly in an era of rapid growth in social media platforms. Meaningful, human connections is becoming more essential for our well-being.
This brings me back to running, why I still continue to run and why I facilitate learn to run programs and running groups to inspire others.
Recently, I completed a local fun run of 11km. Along side me were a dozen other women who put their faith and confidence in me to guide them through a training program and across the finishing line.
The results were incredible. But the relationships, the change in confidence and self-perception and the care and support for each other is what resonated the loudest for me.
We run for ourselves but we run for each other. Regardless of where we are on our journey there is support, encouragement and inclusiveness that lifts you up not puts you down. This not only impacts our health and fitness, it permeates through to all other areas of our life. We are cheerleaders for each other and we are cheerleaders for those we engage with.
I write this blog with hope. I hope that the small changes we make as a community of cheerleaders will create a landscape for our children to grow up in, where they too raise each other up. Where they don't compete to be better than anyone else but they compete to bring out their best and the best in each other. That the destination is not status or power. But measured on how well we lived and how well we helped others live.
By Alana Bowles
Learn more about the Health Associates Couch to 5km here