Rachel Cullen (5)
For Good, Good Runner, Run

At the heart of Saucony is ‘Run For Good’. Every day we think about this in order to challenge ourselves on what we do. At Saucony, Run For Good is our purpose, our North Star. Everything we do is focused around running for good Performance, good Community and good Health. As part of our Run For Good Health campaign, we’ve partnered with author Rachel Ann Cullen. Below, she’s explained what Run For Good means to her.Rachel Cullen (5) Rachel Cullen (3) Rachel Cullen (4)

Every single day, millions of people right across the globe put on their running shoes in an effort to overcome their own personal demons and individual life challenges. I’m one of them. We do it knowing that there is a growing and often virtual community of people who are right there, running alongside us. We are all, in some sense, Running For Our Lives.

And we are never alone.

My name is Rachel Ann Cullen and I know how it feels to have a life completely transformed by the power of running – this is a story I have written about in my first book, Running For My Life. Since sharing my own story and explaining how discovering a love of running has impacted on my own mental and physical wellbeing, I have been drawn towards a growing community of people who – through their own struggles – have the same shared experience. We may not know each other, but we already have so much in common…

Sharing my story with the world opened the door for many people to make contact with me and tell me about their personal experiences of discovering a stronger, more resilient and more joyful version of themselves through running. The more of these incredible stories I heard, the more I began to realise that sharing stories matters. This is where Running For Our Lives was born.

We have all gasped hearing stories about some not-of-this-world Super Athlete who has run ten marathons consecutively across the desert, and as awe-inspiring as such feats undoubtedly are, it has become clear to me that the truly impactful stories are those from every day, ordinary people who don’t even realise they have a story to tell. The mother who runs to manage the daily stress of home-schooling her young children… The woman who ran just days after having a double mastectomy following two breast cancer diagnoses without reconstructive surgery… The man who discovered running in his 50s and now has a life filled with adventure and joy following decades of sinking his sadness in pints down the pub… The teacher who found sanctuary in running following a mental health breakdown at work and followed her heart to discover a new career… The young woman who was saved by running – yes, saved – when her mum was diagnosed with a terminal illness and grief completely overwhelmed her, threatening to sweep her off a cliff of hopelessness and despair. These are the stories that have impacted on me the most, and these are the stories I want to share.

Running has saved me before and I’m quite certain that running is saving my mental health once again during the Covid-19 pandemic. Whilst so many other aspects of normal life we all took for granted have been eroded, running is the one thing that remains intact. Resolute and reliable; stable and unwavering amidst a sea of uncertainty.

Most mornings I wake up and I run. Before breakfast, before home-school and any of the *other stuff* I need to deal with – including the understandable fears of my ten-year-old daughter who doesn’t know why she can’t see any of her friends or teachers, or why even cuddling her grandma is now fraught with danger.

I run because I can. I run because it helps me to process the fact that I don’t have any answers. I run because it gives me peace of mind when there are so many reasons to be fearful. I run because it reminds me that I am alive, and I am free…

This is perhaps the most gratitude I have ever felt for running at any time in my life and truly thankful for all that it gives me. I’ve had more than my fair share of PBs, kick-ass races and YAY! moments, but right now, I’m just so completely grateful that I can wake up every day and I can run. If it helps me to feel even just a little bit better; if it enables me to manage the feeling of overwhelm and to answer my daughter’s maths questions with more patience and tolerance; if it allows me to believe in a brighter future far away from social isolation and endless restrictions, then that is enough for now.

Perhaps living through this extraordinary time is the reason why I have found so much solace and comfort in hearing other peoples’ everyday stories of running resilience – because it makes me believe that any obstacle in life is surmountable; any challenge – however desperate – can be overcome.

Together with Saucony UK, we want to give you the chance to tell us how running has helped you through some of the personal challenges you have faced. You don’t need to run up Everest twice without oxygen for your story to matter. ALL our stories matter, and this project is a celebration of the daily victories we conquer simply by putting our running shoes on and getting out of the front door.

Hearing the most extraordinary stories from everyday superheroes is something I am incredibly passionate about. We can learn from each other; we can be inspired by each other; and we can celebrate our running journeys through life together.

This project will culminate in a fabulous book featuring many inspiring stories of everyday triumph and survival through running. Join us and be part of the conversation. We want to hear your story…

You can follow Rachel on Twitter: @writtenbyrach and on Instagram @rachel_running_for_my_life

#RunForGood #Runningformylife #Runningforourlives #shareyourstory #Sauconyrunning #RunForGoodHealth

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