Friday Finds – 19th February

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.

Every so often, a week comes along that is full of inspiring stories from the world of running. This week was one of those weeks…

First up, a tale of friendship emerging from the US Olympic Marathon Trials. Friends Shalane Flanagan and Amy Cragg built up an impressive lead at the front and were determined to stick together to the finish and secure two of the coveted marathon spots. That was until Flanagan found herself in difficulties in the final kilometres. Cragg stuck by her side, constantly encouraging her friend until she was (reluctantly) forced to run ahead as another competitor was rapidly gaining, threatening her chances of qualifying. Even then, Cragg looked anxiously over her shoulder, such was her concern for her friend (who ultimately finished a minute behind Cragg). It may not have gone how they wanted it to, but both qualified for the Olympics and demonstrated to the world an attitude often seen in “less elite” ranks of a marathon – the support of other runners who are struggling.

Staying in the US, this week I came across the story of Becca Pizzi who recently completed the challenge of running seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. What’s inspiring is not the fact that she completed this epic challenge, but that she did so as a single mother holding down two jobs. How she managed to fit in 100 miles of running per week I’ll never know, but her story serves as a reminder that anything is possible if we really want it.

Closer to home, it was announced this week that one of my running inspirations, Eddie Izzard, is donning his running shoes one more. Back in 2009, Izzard (then a non-runner) completed the challenge of running 43 marathons in 51 days for Sport Relief. At that time I found his commitment admirable and when injured in training for my first marathon the following year, I revisited the programme to help inspire me to tackle my race head-on. In 2012 Izzard attempted the follow-up challenge of running 27 marathons in 27 days across South Africa, tracing the story of Nelson Mandela, but was forced to pull out due to a health issue. Now, he’s going back to try again and I, for one, will be following with interest.

Another inspiring runner whose journey I’ve been following is Elise Downing. You may not have heard of her, but since November she has been running around the coast of the UK…all 5000 miles of it! Of course, a challenge like this is never going to be easy, but I love to follow stories of grand adventures in running and cycling. Up to now, I’ve tended to come across such stories after the fact so am enjoying following this adventure as it happens. Here, Jen Offord interviews Downing about her challenge for Standard Issue magazine:

And finally, I want to share the story of one of the bloggers I follow. I’ve been reading The Runner Beans for a while now, but was unaware of the author’s original motivation to run until I read about it in this interview for Women’s Health. Reading her story reminds me of why I started to run – the loss of a loved one and inspiration to turn that loss into something positive by taking on a new challenge and raising funds. And like me, Charlie well and truly caught the running bug and has run several marathons. If we can do it, anyone can!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

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