A recent poll has suggested that only 7% of Britons felt inspired to take up sport after the London 2012 Olympics. A few barriers cited were busyness, low confidence and cost. Do you feel inspired? Who inspires you? Is it even necessary to feel inspired?
Jo Pavey has to be one of my go-to inspirational women. She’s a gold medal winner but she’s also a mother and, having had the pleasure of meeting her, a thoroughly nice person. From an outsider’s point of view she gets the balance just right when it comes to competitive drive and focus vs normal life and family. Laura Muir is rapidly rising up the ranks of world athletics and her #MuirFace is a perfect portrayal of the moment when a race stops being an chance to show how well your training has gone and becomes a chance to show how hard you can steel yourself and how firm your determination is. But I’m not an Olympian and I’m guessing you’re probably not either (if you are – hello!) so do we really find these people really inspiring? Perhaps if you’re in sniffing distance of their level of talent then yes, but on the days when we’re pottering into work with our RunBox rucksacks stuffed full of ham sandwiches and paperwork it’s hard to feel that the Olympic dream spurring us on,
Closer to home, there is a whole host of ladies that I run with around London who inspire me. There’s Emma who quietly churns out ultramarathons like a machine, there’s Claudia who co-founded AdventRunning and has inspired people to run all over the globe, there’s Sarah who paces people at track every week, gently urging them on to do what they didn’t realise they could, and then there’s all of the crazy guys and girls who run a 10k from a bagel shop in east London every Thursday morning, just for the joy of it. These are only a handful of the inspiring people I see around me in the running world of London and that’s just the ladies. But perhaps you don’t have that kind of support around you or perhaps, some days, you don’t feel inspired.
I was runcommuting home last week feeling decidedly sluggish and very uninspired. It was harder work than it should have been and it had felt like that all week. As I trudged up the A5 (a long straight road out of London) 50 minutes into my journey it was unlikely that visions of Olympic finish lines or even of my friends and their amazing achievements were going to speed my way home. Then it started to drizzle. As I crossed the overpass above the A406 (Big, smoggy, congested ringroad around London) something clicked. I don’t know why but all of a sudden I noticed the wind in my face and the thud of my feet and it felt good. There were no stunning views and I wasn’t going any faster but it just felt good. I didn’t need inspiration, I just needed it to be me and the road and no thoughts in my head whatsoever.
So, London 2012 legacy, yes you might have inspired me in my better moments, but you know what? Sometimes we don’t need inspiration. Sometimes we just need to go.