If you say run...

Posted on August 23, 2019


We're all about that mindfulness life here at Clearbox. With that...erm...in mind, we've asked the team to talk about their 'thing.' Something that they're passionate about doing, when they're not here dreaming up cool campaigns for our brilliant clients. 

First up is Charlotte, who's going to 'run' you through something she's recently discovered...

What I think about when I think about running. 

Someone recently asked me, “What’s your thing?”

A pretty straightforward question, yet I found it difficult to answer. I never really had hobbies growing up; I knew what I was good at and where I did well in school, but I didn’t have a “passion project” or hobby that I loved doing, just because.

With a wedding to plan, a house to buy, and a busy office calendar for the rest of 2019, it’s easy to lose sight of doing things for myself and to step away from the long to-do list, but I wanted to find something that I liked doing and would help to give me some balance.

I always liked running, but had never really thought to give it a real try. That’s when I discovered ParkRun. ParkRun is a very simple concept: turn up at 9.30am every Saturday morning and walk, jog or run 5K. When you register online beforehand, you get a barcode to take with you to the run which gets scanned every time, so you can keep track of your time each week and set new goals for yourself.

I was surprised to see that there were so many ParkRuns in Northern Ireland, with some very close to me. So I picked the track I liked the sound of (the Castlewellan Forest Park run, which does a loop of the lake), I bought some decent trainers, convinced my sister to come with me, and braced myself for the unknown.

Showing up on the day, I didn’t know what to expect. I was sure I’d be out of my depth and that I’d end up hating it and never going again! But when we arrived, I was relieved to see hundreds of people of all ages, shapes and sizes, all chatting away to each other before the run began. We also found out we were two of about 30 first-timers on the day, so I felt a lot more at ease.

As a newbie, I knew I wouldn’t be able to run the whole thing, but I was pleasantly surprised with my pace as I ran and walked different parts of the track around the lake. Scattered throughout were some of the ParkRun volunteers, clapping and encouraging you as you ran, with little markers to tell you how far you were from the end. A respectable time of 37:17 saw me crossing the finish line just moments after my sister. 

Once we had cooled down and got our obligatory photo with the ParkRun selfie frame, I realised that I had been so focused on running and getting to the finish line that I hadn’t thought about a single thing outside of the path in front of me for nearly an hour. 

With a clear head and a tonne of endorphins, I felt like I’d brushed off Monday to Friday by the end of the run, and that I could now settle into the weekend ahead - and it wasn’t even 10.30am! 

A few 5Ks later, I now look forward to early starts on a Saturday morning, taking time to get moving and to create some headspace, all while trying to race against myself to set a new personal best. It’s something I’m doing for me, just because I want to, and I can already see the impact it’s having on my mood, my productivity and my general sense of self.

So what do I think about when I think about running? Absolutely nothing.