"I’m just an everyday girl who likes to run, but a very competitive one at that."

I haven’t always been a distance bunny. I started in little athletics and track and field, 100m and 200m, long jump and javelin, which started in inter-house primary school athletics. As I got older, the kilometres increased. I went from a middle-distance track runner to cross country distances in the three to four km range in high school, and the love of it grew from that, really, striving to be better every year. The sessions got harder as we got older and when I left school I decided to keep up my running and slowly started to increase my distances. I’ve always loved running but didn’t know if I’d be fast enough to join local community running clubs, but I took the leap of faith and that’s where my running really took off.

The more I pushed my boundaries, the more I realised I wasn’t doing it to ‘cross the line’ or win medals, I just really, really love it. I don’t how to explain it, we can break it down all day, but the runner’s high exists. Forget about races and places, that’s not the reason I feel so good when I sign up for or finish a race.

Community running is about healthy competition and encouragement. I think if I really took this seriously and shut out everyone to be competitive, I’d probably lose the real passion that I have for it. I’m just an everyday girl who likes to run. I have no intentions of ever being elite, that’s not why I do it.

I run because it allows me to really enjoy and value our natural environment. We live in a world where technology is our friend, but when I’m running with people, I don’t have music in my ears. Instead we’re asking how our days were or how work is going, which helps put all stressful things into perspective. Running is a way to release pent-up energy or burn off stress and help me relax after a busy day. In a way, it’s like my therapist and cheerleader and punching bag, all in one. More than that, it’s allowed me to nourish my body and keep me aware of my physical body and what I’m capable of. When my legs and chest are burning, it makes me feel alive!

Amelia Tsikleas / Community runner

Citizens of Sport don’t stand by, they Rise Up.

Question: Why do you run? Tell us about it!