A lot of my friends ask me why I run and I honestly ask myself that question sometimes, especially on the first 2km into the race.
I’ve been running for as long as I could remember….I was a very good athlete from primary school through secondary school and I always dreamt of running at the Olympics. I sometimes imagined myself receiving a medal whenever I watched Samuel Matete, a former Zambian athlete.
The closest I got to receiving a medal was taking a trophy home when I received the Sports Girl of The Year Award twice of the year in secondary school(High School). What a proud moment that was for me when the whole school applauded me as I walked up to the front of the school hall to receive my Award and the trophy. I could carry the trophy home! Oh boy! I couldn’t stop smiling on my way home and everyone was asking me what I did to get a trophy. I will never forget the feeling I got that day and the pride on my parents faces when they saw the trophy.
Unfortunately, my dream of running at the Olympics died with me when I completed secondary school as I didn’t get any sponsorship to continue my dream.
When I moved to Belgium in 1998, I found out that there were clubs in every commune that one could join for different sport activities and I was supper excited. I saw that running was one of the activities but I hesitated to do it.
Years past, I still didn’t do anything about it but the yearning inside me was growing stronger and stronger but still something was telling me ‘you aren’t the same age you were in secondary school, stop fooling yourself’. It wasn’t until a colleague signed me up for a 5km Brussels Belfius Run. He actually tricked me into thinking that other colleagues would run too but I later found out I was the only one running. I had no time to train as I was signed up late.
The day of the race came and I was dead nervous and 100m into the race I started panicking and asking myself what I was thinking and at some point I thought of just quitting the race altogether then suddenly I saw kids running past me and I was like there’s no way those kids would finish the race before me, so I gathered courage and I kept running and I finished the 5km in 28 minutes! I was so proud of myself. I did it! That was all the motivation I needed to continue running and that’s how it all began.
After the 5km, I was motivated to sign up for more races. I ran my first half marathon on May 29, 2016….I couldn’t believe I could do it at first but I just went for it and I finished it in 2:25 minutes. I have never been so proud of myself! I ran my second half marathon this year and I completed in 2:43 minutes….slower than the year before because I wasn’t as fit as the year before but I completed it anyway, which is the most important thing for me.
I never made it to the Olympics but I am a proud owner of 11 medals and I am very proud of myself because I didn’t know or even believe I could run at my age. I have my colleague to thank who signed me up for the first 5km race.
So why do I run?
- For weight loss
- To relieve stress
- To stay sane
- I feel rejuvenated after a run
- I reflect and pray as I run
- I run when I want to vent but no one is available to lend an ear
- I also run to raise money for two charitable organisations, NAFISIKA TRUST and OPEN DOORS
- I run simply because I can.
So, I would encourage you to pursue your dreams no matter how old you are or how ridiculous your dream may sound. If you want something bad, go for it! Don’t wish for it, just do it, you won’t lose anything by trying. Even if you fail at least you tried, you won’t be wondering what would have happened if you didn’t.
Go after your dreams!