Running: Mind, Body and Soul

This weekend I did a bit of a road trip across the country for the last long weekend here til Christmas. It was SB’s birthday last week, and so we went to his hometown to celebrate with his friends, and then I drove to Cheltenham to see my Mum. Every year Mum goes to this arts/music/folk festival called Greenbelt. It’s really good fun: camping in tents, listening to music, going to talks. I imagine it’s what Woodstock was like, but without the LSD and with better port-a-loos.


My Mum and her half pint

Yesterday I went to a talk about running and spirituality. They had a panel of four runners: Abid, a Muslim from central London, Bob, a Vicar in central London, Jenny, a Fund Manager for a charity, and Sky, a 17 year old triathlete on the GB Junior Team.


The panel

They were talking about the links between their running and their individual beliefs, and how they converged. It was really interesting, because there’s lots out there on running as a meditative exercise, and this was along similar lines.  It wasn’t as heavy as it sounds! I thought I’d share some of the highlights:

  • Bob suffers from epilepsy, and says that knowing he’s a runner, and that’s his identity rather than being disabled, helps him handle his epilepsy
  • In Islam, you’re supposed to take your time with anything to do with God. So Abid doesn’t use his running as time to meditate, as when he’s running his mind is everywhere
  • As a shy, timid, scared child, Jenny found that running expanded her horizons, and helped her connect her mind and body in its rhythm
  • Sky uses social running to establish her identity away from competitive sports, and to give her time to consider other aspects of her life
  • All highlighted the collective alone-ness of running: you can be running in a group of people, and still be on your own with your own thoughts and space
  • Abid highlighted the links between discipline in his belief and running: no one knows if he doesn’t get up for his pre-dawn prayers. Sound familiar?!

It was cool to listen to these runners talk about how running impacts them and their very different lives. I think everyone who runs recognises the feeling when your mind, body and soul meet during a run.

When I run, there’s a period when I feel at  my strongest, both mentally and physically, and I think this is where the link is. This is usually just before I start to feel knackered and wish I was closer to home….

In other news, the festival food was amazing. I had the best felafel, hummus and haloumi wrap ever. It was so big that I had to open it up and eat it like a salad. Today I did hill sprints to complement all the healthy food I ate to make up for the last long weekend in England before Christmas, and all the tasty delights it brought with it. :)


See the size of my fingers? That’s how big this wrap was

Happy running!

Ellie B