In primary school I used to adore running - I was never really good at it but I always tried my best and gave it my all. Believe it or not, I would look forward to running races and training sessions, a love that I can say I most definitely lost after starting high school. In fact I would go as far as to say that I grew to detest the sport.

A few months ago I realised that other than music I surprisingly no longer really had a hobby. I have always played lots of sports (mainly netball and hockey) but had slowly been forced to cut down as my music lessons/rehearsals often seemed to clash with my training and fixture times. I decided that I needed a new hobby: something that I could do on my own terms that had a flexible time. After finding an old picture of my brother and I at a running race, grinning from ear to ear, I was determined to rediscover my love of the sport.

I downloaded the ‘couch to 5k’ running app, selected running as my physical activity for DofE (which definitely forced me to run at least twice a week) and after each run I meticulously recorded my times. Above all, this helped me the most, as it spurred me on to improve my time run after run - even when I really did feel like giving up.

Undeniably it was tough. At first I was extremely slow but as I progressed I started to surpass my own expectations of my capabilities. I started to find running easier; getting into my stride, knowing how to pace myself and finding myself to be increasingly less out of breath after each run. In fact, what surprised me the most was my selection to be on the school running team - I felt extremely proud.

Now I once again run for fun. I enjoy the sense of achievement after I improve my time, I adore the freeness of running and the fresh feeling I maintain for the rest of the day. Overall, I have an improved mood after running and am delighted to note that I have a much more positive outlook on life as well as having an increased productivity.

It is proven that health benefits of running include: The prevention of stroke, diabetes and hypertension and that running can also improve blood clotting, boost the immune system and also reduce stress and enhance mood. People suffering from stress, depression and mood disorders are increasingly being advised to run, due to the beneficial mental boosting of the sport.

Surveys carried out by sports marketing surveys inc. found that in 2014 the UK running population consisted of approximately 10.5 million runners and 1 in 5 adults and 25% of under 18s ran four or more times a year. These numbers are increasing, demonstrating the rising popularity of the sport.

For example, Sarah Delaney, a local mother, recently restarted running - a past time she took great pleasure in at a younger age. She says: “Running gave me a renewed sense of purpose in life, after having two children, I would strongly advise those considering it to take up the activity.”

I too encourage you to take up the sport. You will not regret it - believe me. I definitely do not.