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The Running Octopus

Published on Wednesday 27th January 2021

As a mum of 4 small hooligans (including 2 preschool twinados)  I get asked how I manage to find time to run fairly often from friends and family with all the other plates that are spinning in my life.  Add to the excessive number of small humans a year of on-off lockdowns, homeschooling, full-time work and coming back from a Fibula ankle fracture (in Sept 19) I can appreciate my life must look hectic from the outside.  

However, for me running is far more than just putting one foot in front of the other; It is a much-needed escape from the stresses of the day to day juggle and an opportunity to be myself (not a wife, mother, teacher, cleaner, cook, employee).  As a household of six people with a year of on-off Rule of 6, it has also been an opportunity for me to see friends and lean on a wider support network when the lockdown blues have taken hold.  So whilst it has been great for my fitness it has also ensured my mental state is intact and kept me sane enough to continue the juggle once the run has finished. 

It also shows my children that fitness and movement are important, and therefore we weave it into the family routine wherever we can.  In the summer we were unfortunately caught by the French quarantine so the boys and I decided we would see how far we could run around the garden – come rain or shine we managed to get the mileage done.  As winter nights started to draw in the boys joined me on night jogs and tours of the Christmas lights locally.  I’d like to think that as they get older they will ask to do this more and more and that as the girls grow up they will also want to join in.   

I am of course lucky that my husband gives me a bit of time at the weekend to run, but I’ve also been trying to find half an hour here or there during the working week (when I have childcare) or I run to collect the kids.  I also spend weeknight evenings getting different friends lost on our local trails (I appear to lose my sense of direction in the dark).  My running is not perfect, there is no plan, no PB expectations, I will not be the fastest any time soon. However, I will come out of lockdown life with a brilliant support network of wonderful trail friends and that is a gift that I will cherish for years to come.

Helen Foulds

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