Who inspires you?
That’s a question I get asked quite frequently. It’s a difficult question and the person who asks has that expectant look in their eyes, waiting for me to give them a famous name. They are waiting for me to say Chrissie Wellington, the Brownlees, Kelly Holmes, or Bradley Wiggins. Undoubtedly, the are all amazing sports people and have achieved much in sports and beyond. But truth be told none of them gets me out the door to train and achieve my goals, none of them truly sparks my will to push my boundaries. The people who inspire me are the ones who no one knows about.
Take my friend Sarah. I know Sarah from my old running club in London. When I went through a really rough patch and all I wanted to do was hide in my flat, sneak to work and back home, Sarah would ask me whether I would come running. She’d make sure I turned up, got out, kept running. No matter how rubbish the weather. She always has kind words for everyone, often puts others before herself. When she went through a bad patch with lots of niggles and unhappiness, she would still crack on with a smile on her face, enjoy what she was able to do and never let anyone down if she had made a commitment. That inspires me.
Or take David. Unwaveringly, he will tell me that I’m awesome and remind me that whatever success I achieve (not just on the sports side) is not due to some fluke or stroke of luck but down to my own hard work. He, too, got me out on the bike for training and racing when I really wanted to stay inside, never grumbled too much when I had one of my flippant moments throwing my toys out the pram, and brought the focus back on the things I COULD do when I was injured rather than letting me wallow in my self-pity. All the while, he’s too humble to accept any praise even though he deserves loads. That’s what inspires me.
My parents and my brother will never let me down. They ferried me all across Germany in my younger years to farflung places so I could race, supported me when I went to the States for uni to follow a teenage dream,and showed up on my doorstep when within hours I needed to pack and move out of my then partner’s flat. They will rearrange everything to pick me up from the airport when I come to visit. That’s what inspires me.
Take the teams I’ve been and still am part of. All the ladies put their heart and and soul into getting a team out there, whether they are top scorers or making up the numbers. Everyone is important, everyone counts. And not making a race, feels horrible because I feel like letting all the other women down, not catching one more runner from an opposing team, not honouring their effort. Together we’ve achieved much, much more than anyone individually could have. That’s what inspires me.
We all have people like Sarah, David, our families or our teams in our lives. The people that get us out the door, support us, keep our spirits up, push us to our limits for the greater good, never let us down. We don’t give them enough credit for the role they play in achieving our goals and dreams. Certainly, I am guilty of that. So isn’t it time we let them know and tell them how inspirational they are?