Two years ago today I was running. I was running from a room filled with sorrow and heartache. I was running along country lanes trying to piece together what had just happened. I was running to try and find peace.
Two years ago today, my wonderful sister Tracy died. It left us all reeling after a sudden diagnosis with bowel cancer. Heartbroken, lost and angry at the world, I turned to the one thing I knew helped my mental health – I ran. Sport is my comfort, it’s my mental health habit that has got me through everything so far. Exercise is my motivation and training is what gets my through the low points.
My marathon in 2015 and RAB in 2016 became more than just exercise for my benefit. They were all done in memory of my sister’s strength and courage, so that I could show my nephew that lost a mum, my brother-in-law that lost a wife, my parents that lost a daughter and my brother that lost a sister (as well as anyone else that needed it!) that life may throw you a bad hand from time to time but you can and will get through it.
And while the anniversary of Tracy’s death is always a hard day, it’s the reminder I needed of why I’m trying to complete 2017’s 12 challenges in 12 months. It’s bigger than me and my love of a challenge. It’s bigger than my addiction to the endorphins of exercise. I want it to provide at least a small ray of light to my family so that they can see there is always hope.
And in remembering and celebrating the bright, smiling and happy person Tracy was, and the huge inspiration her strength and fight for life gave me, I’m reminded of how many other people inspire me to keep pushing every single day. From my nephew and his first 5km run this year, to my Dad signing up for Ride Across Britain 2018. My Mum’s constant and unwavering strength for her family, championing us all to be our best. And all of my friend’s for ticking off their own huge challenges in the past year – running half marathons, marathons, completing triathlons or ultra marathons, they’re all amazing people that remind me to keep pushing and keep driving forward.
And when I’ve been lacking motivation recently, remembering their achievements and how much they all mean to me and remembering Tracy’s love and encouragement, it’s just the reminder I need to keep pushing, to keep striving and to remember: “you didn’t come this far, to only come this far”.
So thank you everyone, both here and missed. Thank you for being my inspiration. Thank you for reminding me to keep going. Thank you for encouraging and supporting. Thank you for being brilliant, wonderful, majestical human beings.