Guest blog post from Jevi M., a runner from our 2017 British 10k.
I am Jevi, born and raised in Norway to Pakistani parents, and I have lived in the UK for 15 years.
Being from Norway has many advantages. I grew up being outdoors a lot and Norwegian way of life is very much about being active and close to nature. Despite this, I hated any intense activity growing up. I barely passed PE because I kept missing lessons; I just didn’t fancy all that moving around!
In January of this year however, there was a shift. I found myself in my friend’s kitchen eating leftover cake. With my bare hands.
This is when I decided to get fit and lose weight. I couldn’t afford a gym membership so I simply decided to run around where I live. It was free and involved no prior training. I simply ran.
At first I huffed and puffed my way to a 3K. Then I slowly built it up to 5K and then, a few weeks later, was running 10Ks regularly. I was hooked or, as they say, bitten by the running bug.
I loved feeling exhilarated after a good run. I had always hated cardio and preferred pilates or yoga. Never in a million years did I think I would enjoy being out of breath for an hour.
When I commit to something, I do it wholeheartedly, so I started reading about running groups in the area and races. My employer is a charity and I decided to raise funds for them along with some friends. We ran a 10K. My first ever race. The worst weather conditions but I did it and even shaved minutes off my PB.
Since then I’ve done a few more 10Ks and 5s, all helping me improve my running technique, pacing and endurance.
I find that when I run it’s an escape. Whatever may be stressing me that day is resolved to an extent by running. It’s my time and I feel free. Most importantly it’s brought me closer to the nature that I have always loved. It’s a joy being out in the fresh air.
One day whilst perusing my next race, I read about the British 10K. For an adopted Brit there’s nothing quite like the lure of London.
Despite all it’s recent difficulties it’s the town I feel the most affinity for as it represents all that I love about Britain; the diversity, the togetherness and the pride the people have for this famous city.
The thought of running through some of the most well known landmarks in the world got my juices flowing, so I got a place through The Psoriasis Association and decided to go for it.
I booked a hotel to stay in overnight as well as train tickets. Some fundraising for my charity and I was all systems go!
On the day of the race, I was amazed by the masses of runners that were taking part. It was a great feeling being part of it. Admittedly I felt a bit lonely being there on my own but I got plenty of support from my charity, Instagram friends and the race organisers.
It was an awe-inspiring experience, running past Big Ben and towards the finish line. When I finally made it towards the finish line my inner Mo Farah was coming out, but the race picture made me look like I was in the middle of a cardiac arrest!
I finished though and appreciated the medal and the goody bags as well as getting strangers to take my pictures. I completed the race in 57 mins 39 seconds which I thought was good considering the heat.
I also managed to squeeze in a free massage with YourPhysioPlan and loved it!
Running has changed my lifestyle and I’m so thankful that I decided to get out there. Not only is it keeping my healthy and strong but I’ve got a hobby that doesn’t cost much and I’ve made some new friends.
Since I started running I’ve noticed that it’s not really rife with people from South Asian backgrounds, particularly women. My friends and family still find it odd that I’ve suddenly taken a liking for running. They don’t understand my obsession and think I’ve lost it. Like my mum calling me some days ago saying I need to stop running in case I fall!
Hopefully I can change this slightly conservative attitude, I’m already thinking of starting a running group with a more diverse mix, or at least inspire others to think about giving it a go by doing a Runleader course.
Having done the British 10K, I’ve had lots of messages from friends and family to say how proud they are of me and that I inspire them to try running. I love that my journey may help others to run too. All you have to do is put one foot after the other.
And as my favourite saying goes: ‘If you want to change your body, exercise. If you want to change your life, become a runner.’
Follow Jevi and her journey on Instagram here — her dream is to the London Marathon 2018, so cheer her on!