On 26th April this year, I sat on my sofa, full of cold and feeling sorry for myself, watching the London Marathon. You must understand that watching the marathon, from start to finish is a novelty for me. Up until moving to Coventry in January 2015, I would be working every Sunday.
I am a priest, ordained in the Church of England, and for the past 19 years when the Marathon has been on, I have been taking services. Now I am the Church of England Chaplain here at Coventry University I work Monday to Friday, and though I may choose to go to church on a Sunday, I am not leading worship.
Watching the thousands of runners on that morning I was particularly struck by a group of larger women who were determined not to let their size stop them from taking part. The hash tag for the Marathon was “get inspired” and I was; not by the elite, but by the determined.
I’m not large, but I don’t do any exercise, and next year I am going to be 50. This is a now or never opportunity, I thought to do something I have never dreamt of doing before. I started off thinking ‘Marathon’ but realistically I’m now aiming for the Coventry half marathon, and I’m not going to put a date on it either! Here I am at a University where there are people to encourage, advise and support me in this endeavour. In this large organisation, there may be others, like me, who’ve been put off by lycra and the competitiveness of sporting activities; or who like me have let physical matters (Mum of 3 – pelvic floor!) or family pressures get in the way of doing any exercise. Maybe secretly they have felt the urge to try something too. Perhaps if I put myself out there and give myself a challenge, then this might encourage someone else.
I also hope that through writing this blog I can reflect on this experience – the joys and pains of exercising, as well as the emotional, and even spiritual aspects of doing something new and different. Perhaps I will become more aware of my holistic wellbeing – we are after all body, mind and spirit. It is my belief (and I will throw these in from time to time) that we only get one chance at this life, and I hope that when it comes to the end of mine I can look back, and like Edith Piaf, say “Non, je ne regretted rien.” So I’m going to give this a go.
One of my favourite verses in the Bible from the Old Testament book Deuteronomy has these words “Choose life” I guess that is what I am doing.