There’s only one thing I want to draw you attention to in this photo of me taken by my talented friend the photographer Sarah Carpenter. And it’s not my face or my pose. In fact, it’s not the picture at all (although it is well shot) but the description underneath. Never a truer word has been spoken about the people who belong to the running network and the last few weeks has highlighted how running can bring people together, help others and give something back to the community.
I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch of the Zero Calorie Advent Calendar a few weeks back. Starting on 1 December, this calendar will offer a workout, recipe and health/fitness business everyday instead of the usual chocolate treats. The trio behind this fantastic idea, PT Mollie, From Snickers to Marathon and Diary of a Dashing Fashionista, set it up to both keep us bloggers on track and offer us a bit of fitness fun but, more importantly, they wanted to raise awareness of a fab charity called A Mile In Her Shoes.
Established by the keen amateur runner Nicola Miller, A Mile In Her Shoes aims to help vulnerable women who have found themselves homeless by introducing them to running. For, as anyone who is into running will tell you, the feeling of belonging to a community combined with the action of pounding the pavements, getting some exercise and completing a route really helps boost your confidence and self-esteem. It’s not just about finishing a race but the satisfaction of doing something for yourself, irrespective of whether that be nailing a 20-minute run for the first time or simply having the confidence to run on the streets or in the park.
The Zero Calorie Advent Calendar have asked businesses who participate in the calendar to contribute to the charity by donating kit, time and resources rather than charging them for advertising. Fitness folk with or without qualifications (such as Leadership in Running Fitness) can also volunteer over Christmas and I think it’s a great way of giving something back and sharing your love of running. Head here to find out more about how you can help.
Talking of giving something back to the community, The Zero Calorie Advent Calendar also introduced us to Goodgym – an organisation that “helps you get fit by doing good”. Essentially they organise runs with a community purpose. Whether that be helping shift rubbish from Somerset House for the Makerversity project (like we did on that evening) or meeting up with isolated older people, Goodgym encourage good deeds that make an impact and also develop relationships within a community. Again, it’s an awesome idea that highlights the strengths of our caring and sharing generation.
It also shows there’s another side to the running community – one that is full of Gentle Giants who want to help and give back.