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Image source – that’s the inimitable Hiilary Swank, revelling in the body she’s worked so hard to have.

On the twelfth of August, 2013, shortly before my 32nd birthday, I did a strange, wonderful, uncharacteristic thing. I took up running.

I’ve always been one of those people who scoffed at the idea of running for fun, so this was very much out of left field for me, and to be honest I am still unable to really pin down my reasons for getting out there and running. I’d heard about Zombies! Run! and it seemed like a fun idea – a training app that combines interval training with an interactive, post-apocalyptic story-game – and that played a part. So, too, did my mild inclination to Doomsday-Prepping. I suspect some intervention from my awareness of my age, too.

Whatever the reason, I stuck with it, and I’ve been running once, twice or three times a week since then, and to say that it has changed my life is a bald understatement. There has been so much to learn about this new world that’s opened up to me, and I’ve joined the local Marathon Club in the hope of finding people to talk to about running so I can stop doing it to my friends and loved ones before they all abandon me.

And I still can’t tell you why I run. It’s horrible, and wonderful, and fun, and so godawfully boring, and hard, and then suddenly easy, and it sucks so much time out of my days now but it gives me so much back in the currency that matters – self-respect, empowerment, pride, endorphins, strong limbs and feet and lungs and heart. I feel so much bigger in myself now, even though I’m slimmer than I’ve been my whole adult life. Running has introduced so many delicious contradictions into my life and I couldn’t be happier about it.