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Running is my therapy - Alison Burton

Running is my therapy - Alison Burton

Hey everyone,

So here I am about to share with you all my first ever blog! I have no idea how this will turn out but i really hope that you enjoy reading this and i can help and inspire someone! So here goes….

A little bit about myself my name is Alison, I live in a lovely little town in Lincolnshire with my family. I am 25 years old and I am a jogger and weirdly enough I do it for fun! (crazy i know). All through school I hated any sports, I didn’t go to any clubs (secretly my parents loved it, not having to take me anywhere), if I could get out of sports day, oh I would, because if I did it I always came last.

Let me take you back to around 3 years ago…. I was living in Peterborough with my partner at the time and was very happy although there were things that I wanted to change. I was suffering with anxiety and on medications to help me cope with day to day life. It affected our relationship, I was comfort eating and putting on weight and wasn’t really doing anything.

So I decided to join my local Zumba class - this was a massive deal, I was sweating and pacing before I went, not knowing anyone and knowing as soon as I walked in all eyes were going to be on me but something was telling me to just go…. So I did. I parked up and saw two girls looking where to go so I asked them if they were going to the Zumba class. Woohoo they said yes - a little bit of pressure off me. So we walked in together and was chatting, did the class and we had such a laugh (I love dancing), I knew I would definitely be back. I continued to go when I could around my shifts but sometimes that would be a few weeks.


One day I decided there must be something else I could do that would help get me out the house, help with my anxiety and keep me fit. Now I had done a couple of Race for Life’s (fantastic events for such an amazing course) and loved raising money for charity - didn’t so much love the running as I also discovered the reason I sounded like a steam train was because I had mild anxiety! Excellent! Choo choo. BUT for some reason I decided that I would go jogging! What was I thinking? Girl you can’t run 200m without feeling like you are going to pass out, be sick or can’t breathe, oh and also wanting to eat everything in sight (unfortunately the eating part never goes away… but we’ve earned it right??).

So there I was was signing up for Peterborough Park Run….. on a Saturday….. at 9am!!! This is normal right? Saturday came round and off I went with my niece to Ferry Meadow (such a beautiful park by the way). Of course I took the niece for support e.g. great excuse to not have to go too quick. Haha. 9am came and we were off so we wobbled/walked round the 5km route, sweating, my niece asking how much further. Then all of a sudden the finish tunnel was in sight!!

Wow! Maybe this Parkrun malarkey isn't too bad - that seemed to come around quick so we ran through the finish tunnel. Feeling extremely happy with what we achieved we took off home for tea and cake! I anxiously waited my time and around 11am it came through Alison you ran your first park run in 26mins!!! Holy cow that’s impressive but surely that can’t be right Race for Life took me at least 50mins and its the same distance. I emailed Parkrun to confirm my time…… turns out I should've listened to the first timers briefing I should've done another lap! Thought this was too good to be true! Try again next week.

My first official time was 45 minutes which I was chuffed about, I changed my jobs and they worked round so I could go to Parkrun most weeks so I continued to go when I could. Still finishing like a sweaty beetroot but I kept at it. My dad joined me too, he was always good at running compared to me I wouldn’t even run for a bus and yep he beat me and still can run around faster than me! Go dad! I remember one time running and felt a strong run and in the distance I could see him, I kept chasing the ground slowly eating it away and….. I overtook you can imagine my excitement, I was going to BEAT him! Plus get a PB! I crossed the finish line massive grin on my face stopped my Strava…… The time was about my average turned out dad had eaten too much sunning it up in Mexico and had a slower run! Gutted! I still haven’t beat him but I will one day!

Some park runs would feel amazing, I would feel strong on my feet and finally capable of running it all and then other runs I could feel like crying, every step felt like I was made of lead. I just didn’t have the stamina but I knew I had to keep trying. On my 50th Parkrun I got a PB of 36.46 that’s almost 10 mins off my first ever run and was such an amazing feeling. Just seeing how far I had come in just over a year! So last April I decided to try something new! My Dad and I entered our first 10km for Sport Relief…… four weeks before the event! Oops! I have never run more than 5km this could be interesting. The day of the event came and in my head I just knew I had to run this all! I wanted to be able to say I ran a 10km without stopping.

At the start line we were told it would be mile laps round a field - the fear of school sports day came flooding in! I was terrified regretting signing up but off we went the first 5km seemed good I knew I could do this, we counted each lap and just kept a steady pace. When we knew we had two more laps left, my legs and feet were aching, my back ached and everything hurt! How was I going to get round this field two more times! I continued, somehow in my head saying ‘you need to run this all!’ Adrenaline I guess kicked in the marshals continued to cheer us on but I became quickly aware that we were the last people running. With half a lap left I just wanted to walk off but I kept going, seeing my mum and my niece at the end shouting us I had one little push left, I could feel my eyes filling up, I was going to run this WHOLE 10km! Over the finish line I went! Yes, we were the last people but it didn’t matter, we still earned the medal and we still ran it all! 1 hour 25 mins was my time!

I have since done a race for life 10km in 1 hour 22 mins. I have just done my 80th park run and have a PB of 34.42 - 11 minutes quicker than my first park run. I have lost 2 stone in weight and can see my body shape has changed. I am now back home with my parents but I am happy, fitter, and no longer on medication for anxiety! Running is my therapy, it helps to clear my mind and keeps me focused everyday. I have gone from the girl who shut herself away to the girl who can RUN, I am happy and healthy. I can't thank Parkrun enough for what it has given me. I have made some wonderful friends through running, we all support each other and recognise our achievements! Cake all round for a PB!

I now have a new challenge… I have signed up to do my first ever half marathon - the Perkins Great Eastern… for a charity called Young Minds - I want to help children and young adults who could be suffering with mental illnesses like myself and to raise awareness as it is very common now. I want to be able to inspire people. I want people to see that they literally CAN achieve anything if they keep at it and keep going! Be brave and seize the moment! Try something new! Get yourself out there!

I have a running plan leading up the race and I am now working with a PT to improve my strength and my running. This journey from 10km to Half is not an easy one and I’m definitely not there yet! But I am not giving in! I am currently at 7.4miles distance wise. I have had setbacks such as illness and losing my mojo as we call it. Yes, it is difficult to get back into it. I have cried halfway through a run because everything hurts and I have had to stop to walk. But I have also cried because of a fantastic run - tears of happiness. Getting that PB having a strong run! No-one can explain the feeling you get! Excitement, nerves, tears, happiness, adrenaline all in one!

My proudest race was a 5mile Fen race I finished in 57 minutes turning that corner and seeing that clock at how well I had done made me so happy but not only that finishing and coming back and seeing your best friend achieve her best run too in 59 minutes…. There was a tearful hug! You share the emotions, you know what people are going through whilst they do their run, the facial expressions…. So if you are out running or at your park run if you pass someone or they pass you encourage them! They are on their own journey too! So here’s to my lovely friends, some of which will be achieving their first half marathon or going for a PB! All you other runners! KEEP GOING!

This evening as I laid in the bath wondering what I would put in this blog, how I would write it? How can I inspire people? How can I be funny? How can I not be boring? (I hope you're not asleep yet) because I fell asleep thinking about it in the bath…. I start dreaming I’m running this downhill appears out of nowhere! (every runner's nightmare, right?) I trip…. My legs fly up in the bath and I’m awake again! Runners brains! Our logic works in numbers…… just one more km that's 7.5mins…. Anyway! I hope that you have all enjoyed reading this! I have certainly gone through all the emotions writing it. I hope to inspire at least one person! To everyone else you are amazing!


Huge thanks to Alison for sharing her running journey with us. Really inspiring to read how running has transformed her life and you can really feel the passion for running.

Follow her running journey on twitter: @Alifitness91

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