Updated: Apr 29
I've just finished an entire year of running every day, that's 365 days without a break, and I wanted to explain why I did this and what inspired me to start running daily.
I started to run more frequently in late 2019, and in 2020 who didn't start to run more? Lockdown put my life on hold.
Gyms closed, pools closed, socializing was not permitted, life as I'd known it had changed.
I started to jog around the area where I live as much as I could. It was a way to get out, to stop going crazy sitting indoors day after day. I didn't think I was a runner, nor did the thought that I'd ever become a runner cross my mind. As the year passed, I realized that I was starting to enjoy something I had loathed for years, Running! 2020 was responsible for many changes and some of them for the better.
I watched from afar as my sister trained for the "Great North Run" that was eventually postponed, as were many other events. Her efforts inspired me to try and improve my running and running distances. I agreed with my sister that I would take on the virtual running challenge of running from Land's End to John O'Groats. This challenge is a famous run/walk/cycle challenge in the UK that starts in the far southwest of England and ends up some 1400 KM later in the far northeast of Scotland. The challenge started on the 1st of January 2021, and I had until the 31st of December 2021 to complete it. Given that I had run 1340 KM in 2020, I thought this would be a fair challenge that would keep me motivated throughout 2021.
I started this challenge on the 1st of January with a steady 7KM trail in the desert with a few others. Once I got back into the house, I logged the miles. I decided that I would start a separate challenge of running every day in January (in the UK, this is a charitable initiative called RED January), so my RED (Run Every Day) challenge started. Still, it was for January only; 31 days is a long time, and I'd never run more than six days consecutively before, so this would be tough.
As the month wore on, I decided to push this RED Challenge for as long as possible. Here we are with 2021 behind us, 365 days completed. As expected, I am still going strong. I am currently sitting on 376 days and training for the First Official Riyadh Marathon. There is an online club for Running Every Day (www.runeveryday.com), which states that you must run at least 1 mile (1.6km) to qualify as a run. I set myself a target of 3km per day as a minimum in 2021; however, in 2022, I may drop this to 1.6km, allowing me to add other facets to my training.
I surpassed all the expectations I had when I started this challenge. I have surpassed all of the time-based targets that I set for myself. I also ran distances that I had previously thought impossible for me. The support that I have had from the running community in Riyadh, both local and expat, has been wonderful. I found a new running family that challenged me along the way and supported me in some of the most challenging runs I've made. Without them, this might have ended far earlier in 2021, but we are halfway through the first month in 2022, and I am still plodding along. Along the way, I have learned many things about myself. I know that I am capable of far more than I had previously thought and that the human body is capable of far more than any of us imagine.
I've seen this challenge through until completion, and I continue to rack up more miles now in 2022, so who knows where or when I will stop as this old body still feels pretty strong. I have reassessed some goals and looked at running some serious Ultra distances but first, let me get this Marathon done and enjoy running with my Running Family 😊