WHY I RUN | By Zeinab Hammoud
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I certainly don’t run to shed off the pizza I binged on last night, if that is what you’re thinking.

Although, it certainly does help.

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I run because it makes me feel stable, mentally, physically and emotionally.

I run because it gives me a sense of belonging. A belonging to a family and a belonging to myself.

I run because I can, because I feel that my legs were born to move at a faster pace than walking.

I run because I love smiling at other runners passing by.

I run because there is no better feeling than looking straight into the sky only to get that overwhelming sense of freedom.

I run because it empowers me as a human, a citizen in Lebanon and most importantly as the woman I have become throughout the years.

But still.

That is not quite the reason why I run as opposed to other sports I do such as kickboxing, weight lifting or swimming.

I will try and explain to you, fellow runner or potential runner, the reason I run.

See as a kid, I was extremely hyper, I would run around and play in the streets of Africa or in the corners of Beirut with other children that I never met before.

I would feel so care free and happy. I wouldn’t judge other children, or ask them about their ethnicity or religion or orientations. We would just play, laugh and then go back home. No questions asked, no judgements made.

Those kids and I were connected solely by our love to play outdoors.

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 However, as I grew up, the happy care free moments lessened, and that hyper happy little girl I once was stopped being who I became. Slowly the child inside of me became a separate entity that was doomed to fade away.

At some point between all the incidents that come with life, I lost the little happy girl I was.

 

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One day, I signed up for a training program called 542. I went on a run. One run after another, I started falling in love with my strides, the people running with me, the volunteer coaches,  the streets and the blue skies.

I laughed as I ran, so happy and care free!  I found that little girl I once lost in the midst of life.

I found her while running, with the support of other beautiful runners.

I kept running until the streets became my playground and those beautiful smiley runners became the little children, I once played with.

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We ran together, care free and happy just like the little children we thought we weren’t anymore.

I never cared about my pace or the distance I ran or even reaching the finish line.

I only cared about the smiles and laughs and the satisfaction I got after every run I completed.

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Now, as I found that little girl inside of me, I also found my escape, or as I like to put it: “I found my happy place”.

When I am angry or sad or just dealing with life, I close my eyes and just imagine myself running. Wouldn’t be amazing if each one of us had their own happy place?

What if your happy place is also running? Would you want to miss the chance of knowing because you are afraid you might run out of breath? You won’t, trust me. I didn’t, and if I didn’t, you sure wont too!

 

THE WOMEN’S RACE:

Now let me tell you why the women’s race in specific means a lot to me.

The first 10KM I ever ran was at the Beirut Marathon women’s race.

I wasn’t a runner then and I remember clearly that I went out of breath 10 minutes into the race, but I kept going because of the incredible energy and support I got from other fellow women. They empowered me, encouraged me and showed me lots of love and motivation. “YOU CAN”,  they said. “Finish What you started”.

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The woman race is a great opportunity for non-runners to start running , and it is a great opportunity for runners to encourage other women to run.

WHY? Because it makes us stronger women, stronger mothers, stronger sisters and stronger leaders.

It empowers young girls like myself to take a step forward.

It empowers strong women like my mother to run the streets of a city care free.

It lets her take some time off and go on a run. It allows her to be a little selfish because she deserves it.

It lets the women of my country find their happy place just like I did.

Every run makes you stronger, fiercer, better!

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So, go on a run, cross the finish line or don’t cross it, but take a step forward and make yourself a stronger woman.

Don’t worry about your pace, your stamina or your endurance, don’t worry about anything what so ever. The point is not to worry. Your endurance will improve with every run as your mental state will improve with every run.

Don’t be afraid. We are all here to support you, to run with you until your brain forgets and your body remembers.

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Do yourself a favor, go on a run. This is your chance to try something new, something different.

 and Know that, I’m with you  أنا_معكي#