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Continuing our TFTR? Blog Take Over here is Clubhouse member and todays guest blogger Katie Jean-Louis all the way from Mauritius talking about why running is a privilege.

My name is Katie. I’m an American expat living and running in Mauritius. I’ve got high hopes for completing my first half marathon this year, but have to find a doctor willing to sign off on my medical certificate. Cross your fingers for me.

It’s a typical Tuesday morning.  I’ve just dropped the kids at school and I’m heading out for a run.  The weather has been especially bad lately thanks to a tropical cyclone about 700 km off the coast of my island home, and to be honest, I can’t wait to get going.  I LOVE running in the rain.  There is something so refreshing about the drops as they cool my sweaty body.  Not to mention, when other people see you out running in the rain, you look like a total bad ass… (At least that’s what I tell myself).  But this morning as I head around the corner taking my usual 5k loop, I see her.  She looks to be in her 60’s.  She’s huddled tightly under her umbrella, lifting her sari as she walks.  The puddles are completely covering her flip-flopped feet and she’s trudging in water up to her ankles.  I don’t know her name, but I see her every day.  I affectionately have nick-named her “Grandma”.  Based on her grooming, I assume that she is going to work or someplace where she regularly has an appointment.  I am not sure how far she walks each day, but regardless, she is as regular as clockwork.  She is like the hundred plus other people I pass on my run each morning.  Their commute to and from work offers all the exercise their body needs and more.

Then there’s “Sarah”.  She’s a friend of mine who lives with chronic illness.  Sometimes the illness goes through periods of remission that allow her to dictate her days, but more often than not, she is subject to its whims and limitations.  She has a desire to be fit and take care of herself, but sometimes the best way to do that is to rest.

And then we come back around to me.  I am able bodied and on days where I don’t have to take the kids to school, my work and home life allow me the luxury of staying well under 5,000 steps a day.  I am so spoiled that I actually have to look for exercise.  I don’t have a strenuous job that requires my body to do physical labour.  I don’t have a commute that requires me to walk for transportation.  I have to make it a point to seek physical activity!  That is such a privilege.

On days when my feet feel especially heavy and my lungs start to burn, I think about those who can’t run…  I think about those who put all of their daily energy in to existing and providing for their families…  I think about how lucky I am that I have to seek exercise and I whisper to myself, “Do it for “Grandma”, do it for “Sarah”, do it for “yourself”.  After all, running is a privilege.

What a great message. Sometimes we take for granted that we are able to run and it is only when we are injured or become unwell that we realise what an important part of our life it has become. So go out there and appreciate every run, good bad or ugly…because it is 100% a privilege.

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