My counsellor asked me why I started running, why do it, what pleasure do I get from pounding the pavement?

Why? Why indeed?

Because as grim as it sounds I’m planning for the future, a future (maybe a long way off) where there is a big possibility that I could get ill.

I have a chronic bowel disease, both my grandmothers had bowel cancer, there is cancer in my family. Shit could go down and you know what, if it does come knocking, I want to be ready to punch any illness in the face.

I want to be fit and ready to fight anything that could come my way, whether I’m 40, 60 or 87, I am going to be ready.


So I started running, started going to the gym, started moving a little, then moved a little more and more and so on.

But while I was working on the long-term retirement plan of having the flexibility and stamina to match the love child of Mick Jagger and a slinky when I started getting wrinkly(er), something else was happening.

Something amazing is happening now, right now.

My health is the best it has been in years, I’m not on any medication and the days of being too ill to work seem a long way past.


Early morning runs have shown me some of the most beautiful sunrises and given me a wonderful clarity for the day ahead. I’m stronger than I knew, being able to hike happily over 4 days and 43km, a 15kg pack on my back. Scrambling over rocks is no longer the hurdle it used to be, the challenge and exertion was actually, oh my god, I can’t believe I am saying this, but….. fun!!

I may have missed out on my half marathon goal time by 2 minutes (which pissed me off so much to start with) but I didn’t start this crazy malarkey to become Paula Radcliffe. I started running to become fitter, to be a better role model for my daughter and to improve my mental and physical health.

That’s happening and it will keep on happening as I push and improve myself each week. The half marathons, the PB’s, the races and medals – they are just a massive bonus, a fabulous, shiny bonus.


This is my message to movers. Don’t lose sight of why you started, because this is your race, your moving and it’s the best gift you can give you.



Emily joined OperationMove to keep her motivated with her moving, and couldn’t have made it through the winter 6am shuffles without the support of her amazing team of friends (though the awesome running mixes and Percutane did help). This year she did her first 5.5km fun run then realized she was hooked and will finish the year 7 tags and 2 half mara’s later. She blogs over at Mrs Sabbatical and may be secretly waiting for the day when the OpMove Team will set up house like The Golden Girls.


Zoey Dowling

Written by: operationmove

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  1. Zoey Dowling

    Love this :) Thanks so much for sharing. You just reminded me that even though its my own personal struggle I'm running again. Something that I thought I'd lost forever :)

  2. Shit a'int gonna happen cos you a'int gonna let it!
    go you good thing!

  3. Zoey Dowling

    :D Brilliant - thanks for sharing Emily :) I wanna go scramble over some rocks now (I always love doing that because it makes me feel like a kid again).

    • Zoey Dowling

      It's so much fun isn't it! I had a big stack (my pack tipped me over!) and that definitely made me feel like a kid again ; )

  4. I always freakin love your posts, you are inspiring and amazing and I so needed to read this today! Can not wait to meet you in a week & a bit. xx

    • Zoey Dowling

      Kim - thank you so much, you are so sweet. It will be brilliant to meet you - I cant wait to share & celebrate your run on Sunday! x

  5. Zoey Dowling

    I have no words. I am reading all these stories and I am just like, wow. Awe.

      • Love your way with words, wit, and I guess what's left, you ;)

  6. Zoey Dowling

    I love this post Emily. Im total amazed at the hiking!! Such an awesome effort. With so many race rags, it sounds like you're winning your own race. Well done