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I Never Planned to be a “Runner” – From Team Member Preena :)

I never planned to be “runner” it just happened. I do not come from a family that is into a specific sport or who goes to the gym regularly. As far as my fitness went was learning how to swim at my local leisure centre every Saturday until I was about 11 years and being put down for all the long-distance sports day events and ALWAYS coming last but never really caring,

For as long as I can remember I have always enjoyed being alone. Another reason why I didn’t care to be last, it was just me, running in circles as I always did. I am not keen on large social gatherings and will avoid interactions at all costs. That is probably why I fell in love with running. I always felt trapped and I had no idea why. The freedom I craved for did not come easy but it was not until I was truly inspired by the 2012 London Olympic and being inspired by the 2013 London marathon that helped me find running.

When I first started working for in my local health club as a holiday camp worker. I hated the gym; I could not understand why people trained so much. I was not brought up in a home that introduced me to the gym so just walking into the gym took me years to do. I wish I had the courage to walk through the door and step onto that treadmill much earlier than when I did.

I was speed walking on a treadmill in the gym when the BBC news has been discussing the highlights of the 2013 London Marathon. I was so inspired and on April 23rd 2013, I officially took up running. I decided to celebrate my 21st birthday I was going to run the 2014 London Marathon. I did that while raising over £2,500 for charity too. I must admit training for a marathon, working full time and studying for my childcare degree was not the smartest idea but I definitely learnt the importance of time management and routines. My day was scheduled as I worked my butt off as a complete non-runner to marathoner in months.

As well as all the other things that influenced my training was the issue of trying to overcome the issue of being the only runner in the entire family. I initially received a lot of criticism about taking up a sport like running. I still sadly receive criticism on my choice of sport, why I need to run, I have been kicked out of free and fun run groups for being “too slow”. However, does that stop me? NO. It won’t! I just take each run in stride and keep pushing one foot at a time no matter how hard it gets. Those tough runs remind me that no matter how hard life can get, we will make it through one-step at a time.

I have now completed four marathons, 7 half marathons, a large number of other distances including 10k’s 5k’s, cross country and mile races.

My love of running has fluctuated since 2013, but running has taught me so much, it allows me to clear my mind and listen to my body, to work through any issues surrounding me. I used to worry a lot about being a “slow runner” but I don’t worry about my pace or how far I run anymore. I go on how it makes me feel. Do I feel fearless after? Do I feel shattered? Do I feel worse than before?

I am not the fastest runner in the bunch, but I am a very happy tortoise runner. It is my determination to get to the finish no matter what is what sets me aside as a runner. I have tried so many training plans in the past but it wasn’t until recently that I have started to feel confident with my running. I wouldn’t have got this far without the most supportive coaches including Charlotte and Adam who have guided the way in me feeling so confident in my running since joining Team Purdue.

Instagram: @pdivecha93

Question Time:

What is my Favourite Race? The London Marathon… I just can’t help myself; I keep going back for more despite how much the marathon tries to break me mentally and physically.

What is my Favourite Post race food? Cake! All the way.

What is the hardest thing you find about running? To not quit when my mind tells me “you can’t do it Preena!”

What is my Favourite film? Pocahontas. I wish I could run like her or Rocky I, it is the determination that Rocky shows time after time that motivates me in so many ways.

What is your Pre Race Song? It’s Time by Imagine Dragons or My Shot from Hamilton. Those two songs get me very pumped, as I get ready to cross the start line. I usually make my playlist a few songs short of my goal time so I can hear these two songs again near the finish for that little push.