Friday Finds – 25th September

Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.

Following on from last week’s news that “real life” runner Lindsey Swift was to feature on the cover of the November issue of Women’s Running magazine (my copy popped through the letterbox this week), I enjoyed seeing Swift’s interview on Good Morning Britain and hearing the comments of another contributor about how women are presented in magazines. But sadly, Swift’s experience is not an isolated one, and I remain appalled at the prevailing attitude that women’s bodies are there to be commented on, regardless of their shape, and long for the day when we can all carry out whatever activity we please without fear of judgement. Putting it much better than me, is Christina McDermott writing in The Guardian:

As someone who has experienced their fair share of injuries, I’m always interested in anything that might help to “injury-proof” my body. I’m not looking for a quick fix, but to understand what it is that lies at the root of any injuries I pick up. If I can understand that, then I can understand what I need to work on to make my body stronger and avoid suffering the same injury again. I have therefore been intrigued by recent studies into whether or not there is a difference in injuries between men and women. The findings back up what Steve has taught me about how injuries tend to come from either the movement in the foot or the hip, but the real fascination came from the fact that while men tended to be injured from the foot up, women tended to have more issues coming from the hips. Some of my training sessions each week have been focusing on hip mobility, so I’ll be interested to see how my body stands up to a cycle of more intense training as a result.

On the flip side side of running, is spectating. I for one know that the shouts of encouragement from spectators can definitely provide a lift to get you to the finish, particularly in a marathon. I can vividly remember running along the Embankment in the closing stages of the London Marathon in 2011 and feeling buoyed up by the enthusiasm of the crowds (despite the protests of my weary legs!). Even in a shorter event, a well-timed shout can make the world of difference, but knowing just what to shout out can be tricky, so I enjoyed Ronnie Haydon’s piece in The Guardian examining, in a light-hearted manner, that very conundrum.

I never expected to be writing about bridge in my blog, however an intriguing debate arose this week when the English Bridge Union challenged Sport England’s ruling that bridge is not a sport and took their case to a High Court hearing. And thus, the age-old debate about what should and shouldn’t be called a sport was re-ignited. Personally, I’m with Sport England on this one as to me, sport must involve some degree of exertion and physical skill – I even looked up “sport” in the dictionary to be sure of my definition here:

“an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature”

I’m sure the English Bridge Union feel quite entitled to some kind of funding, but can we really consider it to be a sport? I enjoyed reading some of the ensuing columns debating the issue and highlighting some other activities which commentators found questionable. I’d love to know what you think about this one.

Last month I felt privileged to watch the BBC documentary Dead Man Cycling featuring paralympian David Smith. Smith’s story is incredible, having not only changed sporting discipline, but also re-learned to walk following surgery to remove a tumour which was pressing on his spinal chord. His tenacious and irrepressible spirit was infectious, and I found myself willing him on to success. Unfortunately, Smith’s tumour has returned and he has been told that surgery might leave him paralysed, but he’s not letting that stop him: so intent is he on competing in Rio next year, that Smith has opted to delay that life-saving surgery. In the clip below, Smith discusses his decision:

And finally, you may remember the story of Maggie Scorer and her dog Oscar who set out earlier this year to complete a 5000 mile cycle around the coast of the UK. Well I’m pleased to share the news that they have successfully completed that journey, raising over £18,000 for charity so far. An incredible feat!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

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