My Running Journey So Far: Part 1, 2004 – 2012

Hi, welcome to the Runner Diaries, a blog focused on documenting my running journey to share my experiences with the sport and hopefully inspire you along the way. Running is something that truly interests me and I love to see how other people became inspired to run and race; was it because they were scouted by a coach? Was it because of their parents? Or was it simply because they wanted to try something new? My story is mainly based on the third question; I started running because I had a love for it at a very young age. 

I know, I know, it’s a major cliche, but I had always loved to run, unlike every other kid in my year who thought running was for “weirdos”. I lived in England for 7 years, and we were always forced to run around the football pitch in our white velcro trainers (which I always used to rip because I wanted them too tight hehe). I would always come in 3rd, behind the faster girls, but I clearly remember winning the Year 3 time trial for the first time. I really wanted to impress the teacher! However, running wasn’t anything special to me, it was just a PE class sport, similar to hockey or tennis, something that we had to do everyday.  I had been introduced to swimming at a very young age and that became my main sport. I competed for a club, and it became something that I loved to do, a sport where I could compete in a team with my friends. 

My family then moved to Dubai for two years, and I became involved in so many new activities. Netball, swimming and football became my main passions and I would spend the weekends cycling or running with my dad around the lake by my house. I swam for the school and for my swim club and we would regularly compete at our local pool which just so happened to be an Olympic sized, 50m pool!! You can imagine how daunting that was at age 9…

I arrived at my school in Dubai not really accustomed to competition. I had been at an all-girls school for a while, where enjoyment was a main factor in sport and I had to quickly adjust to the dedicated attitude to competing. In the November of my first year, we had a Year 4 girls cross-country race in the desert. It doesn’t sound like anything special, but there were 200 people in my year, 10 form classes and around 100 girls, so the race was a pretty big deal. There were some very naturally fast girls and we set off on the 3km course. I ended up finishing 3rd, very very happy for my first competitive race.

My sports days at school had always been my downfall. I couldn’t understand why everyone was so determined to beat the fastest girl in my year in the 800m and I was confused by the fierce and aggressive competition; sports day had always been something fun for me and for everyone, so I finished my Year 4 sports day as one of the last in the 400m and 800m.

With a long history of sport filling up my childhood, I decided to spare you the lengthy posts and divide my running background into three parts (hopefully it will be easier to navigate as well!)

Part 2 is available on the next blog post, “My Running Journey so Far: 2013-2018”.

Thank you for visiting my blog, I can’t wait to start this new adventure and share my experiences with you all!

Lots of Love,

Florence 🙂

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