What it means to me to run happy, limitless and free

Running to raise awareness of domestic violence. 

I’m not sure which has been harder, putting down on paper the true depths of the reasons behind my ‘running why’, or then sharing those depths of ‘me’ with the rest of the connected world, but here it goes… 

So, in taking on this challenge, I had to consider what story I would tell about my life, my past, my ‘why’. 

Initially, I chose the easier parts of my story. I chose the headings of; quitting smoking, depression and anxiety. There had been a nagging voice in my head though, questioning the bigger story and if I would tell it. Was I strong enough, brave enough? 

The other part of my story is one of a long term abusive relationship, a relationship that nearly broke me, that left me at rock bottom, but an experience from which I grew into the strong resilient woman I am today. 

I was scared to share my story, to speak up as a survivor of domestic abuse, I didn’t want that label to be openly and publicly applied to me. The shame, the stigma, the feedback from the keyboard warriors! – was I ready for that? 

The stats are horrific. One in three women experiences psychological or physical abuse from their partners in their lifetime. On average 14 women, six men and 10 children are killed by a member of their family every year – that’s 30 lives lost every year to domestic violence. That is not acceptable. 

I first started to run when I was in that destructive relationship. Running was my safe place, an area of my life that I could control, I ran from the pain, depression and anxiety, and I ran to feel powerful and strong. 

When I first started running it was with a grim determination, but what grew out of that was something much, much more. 

I want to be a voice for those who can’t quite find theirs right now (it’s there, I promise). To open a dialogue, to reduce judgement and stigma. What we don’t know – we fear, what we don’t understand – we ridicule. We explain away others behaviours, we justify, blame and rationalise to make ourselves feel better. No more. 

We need to change the dialogue, we need to make it safe out here in the open because it’s not safe for many behind closed doors. 

Mine is absolutely a story of pain and hardship. But it is also a story of love and hope and light. It is a story of resilience, grit and determination. I now run free and happy and limitless and that’s the story I want to share. 

This challenge for me is about running because I absolutely love it, it is my happy place, my therapy, my solace. Being out in nature is good for the body and the soul. Through running I get to be me, unashamedly. When I run I feel strong and free and limitless. 

I want to inspire others whatever it is they are trying to take on whether it’s running, or some other sporting adventure, or the way harder stuff like making life changing plans for a better future for themselves and their children. 

The message is that you are stronger than you know, you are capable of so much more than you could ever know, and the big lesson that running (and life!) has taught me on the deepest level possible is an understanding that ‘this too shall pass’. 

Let’s share light, and love, and joy, let’s break down some barriers as I take on this crazy relentless challenge. 

If you need help contact: 

Women’s Refuge on 0800 REFUGE 

The Family Violence Information Line (0800 456 450) 

Shine helpline details ‘0508-744-633

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