Neil Featherby: Uncertain times but we can still all appreciate the simple things in life

Uncertain times but running with his dogs is still firmly on the agenda for Neil Featherby. Picture:

Uncertain times but running with his dogs is still firmly on the agenda for Neil Featherby. Picture: Mark Hewlett - Credit: Mark.R.Hewlett

Whilst I am sure we are all still having to pinch ourselves what with the current surreal situation we find ourselves in, it is in truth the uncertainty of it all which is causing us all to be somewhat concerned and of course fearful of what might lie ahead.

Whilst the coronavirus is scary enough with regards to how it can affect our health, all the other fears such as to how this is also going to affect all other factors of our lives is of course further adding to people’s stress levels which can be just as damaging to our systems and a good reason why we not only need to be on top of our physical health, but our mental health too.

Running and exercise is for so many people a massive form of reducing daily stress and now even more so. I have run every single day since September 1, 1981, so the thought of my long streak possibly soon coming to end has made me even more aware and appreciative of just how fantastic it is to simply put on my running shoes and take off for a run with my dogs in the woods near to my home.

Whereas this week has also seen so many sporting events cancelled which of course also includes not just the big city marathons in April, but all local races and parkruns around the country too, here in Norfolk, this has led to race directors, road running co-ordinators and club chairman throughout the county all having dialogue to see how they can reschedule their events for later in the year.

What with my business Sportlink being the sponsor of the Sportlink Grand Prix Series and other races, I have also been part of these discussions and the one thing which has been apparent to me is just how awesome the running community is and just how tight the bond really is too.

Despite what has to be the biggest shake up of our lives in modern times and the shock of now knowing that the year is not going to pan out as perhaps we all just took for granted and assumed, somewhere in the mix we must all try to look for positives amongst all of this.

Certainly the camaraderie which truly exists amongst most of the public out there who are stepping up to the plate to help others for one, whilst also seeing people very quickly reacting and adapting to now having to make changes to their daily routines as well.

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However, from a running perspective, I can also think of ways to turn what has to feel currently like negatives into a positive be it whether you are someone who was planning to race your first ever 10k or indeed for someone who has got themselves into the best shape of their lives and were looking to produce a new marathon PB. I will save that for another column though.

Most, importantly though, we will all get through these next few difficult months, that I am sure of, and when we do come out of the other side we will be so much stronger and even more resilient.

At the same time and whilst this really is not a nice thing to be going through, perhaps and I use the word perhaps very carefully here, every now and again it might just be good for us to discover our vulnerability to make us more aware of just how fragile everything can be.

In other words realising and appreciating that it is the many simple things in life which we are all guilty of taking for granted which are actually the things we really cannot put a price on when all is said and done. With that, I intend to keep enjoying as many runs as I possibly can in what is our beautiful unspoilt countryside.

In the mean-time, stay safe, keep smiling and of course keep on running.

On another note, whilst we are going to be devoid of races for a bit and so as to add some extra motivation to people’s running, then why not check out our free to enter latest fun challenge at Sportlink. We are calling it the Sportlink 5K Mad March Age Graded Championship. You can run wherever (including treadmills) and whenever you like at any time of day or night.

There will also be a nice prize for the men’s and women’s winners at the end of the month from On Running. Check out our Facebook page or website over the weekend for full details.

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