Araf started his running journey several years ago to help in clearing his head from those daily distractions and to provide clarity and manage his anxiety. Araf shares his story.
“Watching and listening to others talk about their running journey inspired me and helped me focus on my health targets. It was a transformative journey that positively impacted various aspects of my life. For me, running became a powerful tool to combat anxiety, support fundraising efforts, socialise, inspire others, and promote engagement within my ethnic community. This article shares my personal experiences and motivations behind starting and continuing my running journey, highlighting the incredible benefits it has brought to my life.
Finding relief from anxiety:
“Like many others, I struggled with anxiety, which affected my overall well-being. Searching for ways to manage it, I discovered the remarkable stress-relieving effects of running. As I laced up my running shoes and hit the pavement, the rhythm of my feet and the steady flow helped ease my anxiety. Running provided a sense of clarity , allowing me to clear my mind, focus on the present moment, and gain a fresh perspective on life’s challenges, in essence get rid of any distractions.”
Supporting fundraising initiatives:
“Driven by a desire to make a difference in the lives of others, I realised that running could be more than just a personal pursuit for me , but also support my passion for fundraising . It became a platform for me to support various fundraising initiatives by supporting local Leicester charities and international charities which I have supported for several years . By participating in charity runs, marathons, and other challenges such as cycling and swimming I raised awareness and funds for causes close to my heart. Running became a base through which I could contribute to society, helping the those in need.”
Socialising and inspiring others:
“Joining my first running group only recently through a contact at Leicester Victoria Park run opened up a whole new world of social connections and friendships. I met like-minded individuals who shared a passion for running and living a healthy lifestyle. These running communities provided a supportive environment where I could bond with others, exchange stories, and learn from their experiences. Being a part of such groups not only boosted my motivation but also gave me the opportunity to inspire and be inspired by others.”
Empowering my ethnic community:
“While engaging in running activities, I noticed a lack of representation from my Pakistani community. This inspired me to actively look to involve and support individuals from my own background who may have been less involved in such activities. I hope with the support of my running group organise running events, workshops, and mentorship programs, I aim to bridge the gap and encourage participation among people of my ethnicity. Through running, jogging or walking.”
Continuing the journey and achieving health targets:
“As I see positive impact running had on my mental and emotional well-being, fundraising efforts, social connections, and ethnic community involvement, I have more determined to continue this journey. Listening to the stories of other runners, witnessing their achievements, and hearing about their health transformations further fuelled my motivation to stay dedicated to my own health targets. Running not only became a means to support others but also a way to ensure my own well-being and personal growth.”
“Starting my running journey was a personal challenge to combat anxiety, but it quickly evolved into something much greater. Through running, I found an amazing community of people, also support me to continue my fundraising efforts, and look to inspire others do something similar. This incredible experience has inspired me to keep going, both for my own health targets and to continue making a positive impact in the lives of others. Running has truly transformed my life, and I encourage others to embark on their own running journeys to discover the remarkable benefits it can bring.”
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