A student’s perspective on the benefits of running and information on how to join in this term
My name’s Bella, and I am no stranger to running. I started running during my second year of university as a way to de-stress after particularly challenging lectures, and then as a way to get out of my own head. It became meditative, and has remained a very large part of my life. Therefore, when asked to participate in community building, I immediately considered running as a way to facilitate that. Kent Sport has created a fantastic running program for beginners: they meet up bi-weekly for social runs, where the group runs together and maintains a pace that is easy to converse throughout. It’s a lovely, chatty group that is facilitated by Sports Centre staff who have been more than happy to team up with the College and Community Life in order to get more participants in this program.
There are lots of benefits to social exercise – the physical benefits, the community building, the accountability it provides – but more than anything, it’s about friendship and activity. Running has given me a community in times when I’ve needed one, has become a coping mechanism in stressful terms and has taught me more about my own strength and resilience than any other physical activity that I have done. When I was nineteen, I never would have thought that I would be facilitating social runs – I could barely run a mile without stopping! But four years later, I can’t imagine not having spaces to go and be active and in community for a bit of time every day, and I am fortunate to have found a space so readily facilitated by the University.
I would encourage everyone to join me on Mondays at 17.30 and Thursdays at 12.30 meeting outside the Sports Centre: check out the College and Community Life calendar to make sure it’s on the day you want to come. Even though running isn’t always fun, and even if (or especially if!) it’s hard because you really never know what one 5k can do for you. Of course running hurts – but all growth always does, and if you’re really lucky, you find a space to learn and grow through these athletic communities. I hope to see you at the Sports Centre this Thursday, or next Monday. I’ll always be in a high ponytail and College and Community Life gear, ready to have a chat or a race with whoever wants it. But, actually, so will everyone else.
Written by Bella, Residential Life Assistant for Eliot and Medway Colleges, on 25.01.22