Logo Used with Permission
"The highest reward for a man's toil is not what he gets for it,
but what he becomes by it."
John Ruskin - English Writer and Critic
Running the much-anticipated 10k was nothing like I had envisaged. Despite being aware of just how much of a mental effort it would be for me to persevere with an activity I don't particularly enjoy, I hadn't foreseen that my all-important running partner would not be able to take part on the day, nor how much of an impact that would have on my motivation.
For me, the race was - at best - pretty miserable. I didn't have the sense of achievement other participants seemed to enjoy. I didn't relish the physical challenge. I didn't even manage to slot into the reflective frame of mind that has made other runs beforehand feel beneficial. In short, I didn't really get much out of it at all.
But maybe that's the point. Maybe it was just never supposed to be about me in the first place. The loneliness of running by myself made me more alert to other people on their own, giving me the nudge I needed to spontaneously run alongside someone who was struggling with an injury; we supported each other for a period of time. Our collective group of fundraisers raised £70,000 and counting. The charities we collected for and the recipients of the money will also doubtless see the benefits.
The paradoxical thing is that maybe, just maybe, if this run has left me even an inch closer to understanding that my life experiences are not all about what I get out them - whether I enjoy them, whether I'm happy, whether it's all blue-skies and comfort - then, ta-da! I benefit. I benefit by becoming just a little bit less self-centred and consequently a little bit closer to being at my best.