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I’ve never felt like I completely belonged to the running world.

I know this is not unique to me, plenty of people feel like this for all manor of reasons.

Nobody is really to blame…it’s not like any one is there awarding people the position of “proper runner”

And it’s not like there are special hoops you have to jump through to achieve that status.

But sometimes it does feel like that.

I’ll be a proper runner when I buy proper running trainers

I’ll be a proper runner when I join a running club

I’ll be a proper runner when I follow a training plan

I’ll be a proper runner when I get sub 30 for a 5K (30.06 so bloody close)

I’ll be a proper runner when I run my first marathon

BOY OH BOY WAS THAT A BIGGIE FOR ME.

I though that was what I needed to do to finally feel accepted, to finally get the nay sayers off my back, to finally feel like I had nothing else to prove.

But sadly it doesn’t work like that.

We are 6 days out from the London Marathon….and nerves are at an all time high among the brave souls in my running club who are set to achieve their running dreams.

And yet still there are reports of stupid comments like

“You don’t look like a marathon runner”

“Sure you have done enough training”

Oh and my clueless teenage nephew who bless him thought I’d be able to do it in 2 hours when I asked him to guess my time yesterday.

I often question why I run marathons.

At first it was a BIG FAT STUPID GOAL…I wanted to prove I could. And I did. I trained damn hard in 2011 and 2012, and 100% felt like a proper runner as I dashed around those 26.2 miles.

But it didn’t stay with me forever that feeling.

The marathons I have run since have always been an attempt to get back to that form, but being a mum, a single mum, a single mum who over commits and under trains has never quite managed it.

I still enjoy the massiveness of the marathon goal…but I do wonder sometimes if me running marathons is an attempt to validate myself, validate my work.

Like if I am not running marathons then how can I head up this movement.

This will probably be my last marathon because I don’t feel like I have anything left to prove. Speed isn’t that important to me. The training is just too hard. And I want to focus on other adventures and challenges.

I do want to send a message out there to anyone about to attempt their first marathon this weekend.

You are amazing, even without doing this great thing.

It will change you for sure, but it does not define you.

In the days after your marathon you will feel low…the anticlimax of it all, how other people may respond, the little niggles you feel about being able to have done better.

It’s a weird old thing.

And to anyone reading this considering running a marathon in the future, good on you…you can 100% do it if you set your mind to it, but please don’t think you have to to be considered a runner….a proper runner.

If you run, you are proper…no matter what distance or speed you run.

If you run with a club or by yourself

In the right gear…or with no idea.

Run for the reasons you want, not for any idea of whats proper, whats acceptable, whats right.

Running doesn’t belong to any of us.

It is a gift available on loan to us all…if we should want to have it for a while.

But no pressure…you get to decide when to give it back or whether to admire it from afar.

Looking forward to Sunday…looking forward to the atmosphere. Looking forward to announcing something BIG on marathon morning…something you can all get involved with.

So watch this space.

Thinking about running a marathon some day? Check out my book The Fat Girls Guide to Marathon Running with everything you might need to know.

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