If there's one thing that 2020 has taught us it's that one of the greatest gifts of all is being able to get out running – whenever, wherever, no matter how far or fast we go.
The team at Run4It reflect on the greatest gifts running has given them.
"Since starting running as a recreational activity, instead of only as cross-training for other sports, I have developed a massive appreciation for the people I used to see running in the wind and the rain. I now understand the tranquillity and sense of achievement you can gain from running. It has provided me with the ability to further challenge myself in a totally different capacity both mentally and physically, and be automatically enrolled in a community which is encouraging and sportingly competitive." ~ Jack, Edinburgh Lothian Road
Mates and motivation
"Since I started running at university, I have been able to improve on my own running goals which have been made easier by having made friends that push you along the way making for some enjoyable and friendly competition. 4 years on I have fallen in love with the sport and continue to compete where and when I can with people I've met along the way." ~ Philip, Glasgow City
Friends for life
"Running has gifted me many amazing experiences from winning national titles to competing for my country. But the best gift of all has to be the friendships and team fondness that I have formed since first stepping onto the track." ~ Ben, Bridge of Allan
"Running has brought me the gift of many things but the best thing it's given me is the supportive environment created by like minded individuals at all running events and running groups, no matter how big or small, is very welcoming and makes it easy for everyone to get involved. This has given me the gift of friendship, some that will last a lifetime!" ~ Charlotte, Giffnock
"Running has brought me the gift of many things but the best thing it's given me is the people in it. The friendships I've made with folk from all walks of life through the sport is something I would never have got elsewhere!" ~ Kieren, Giffnock
Peace and tranquility
"Running has always been something I've loved but I didn't realise how it kept me grounded throughout many life changes. It is an easy thing to have to relate to so many people and also how it has helped me find a better piece of mind. Even a ten minute run helps me to feel less stressed and clear my head!" ~ Leah, Edinburgh Lothian Road
"Running has given me the ability to find tranquillity and calm in a very busy, hectic life. The freedom, fresh air and environment allows me to think and process as each step opens up my headspace and energises my world!" ~ Emma, Glasgow City
The feel-good factor
"Running has enriched my life in so many ways. From the day I started Couch to 5k to training for half marathons, it has given me the confidence to set myself goals and work towards achieving things I never thought possible. The most important lesson it has taught me is that you can do anything you set your mind to." ~ Sarah, Maybury
The freedom to explore
"There are many gifts that running has given me! From eating cake guilt free, to meeting people who are friends for life, to helping me achieve my current job, it has enriched my life in so many different ways. At the moment I love pulling on my running shoes and exploring new places in a city I have lived in for 10+ years!" ~ Emma, Edinburgh Lothian Road
"Running has given me opportunities to take the road less travelled.” ~ Will, Retail & Customer Service Manager
Grit and determination
"Running has brought me the gift of many things but the best thing it's given me is determination and perseverance. When something gets hard you work through it and become a better runner. You are motivated to keep pushing yourself and do the best you can." ~ Eoghan, Giffnock
"Running has brought me the gift of many things but the best thing it's given me is the ability to explore new places on my own two feet and being able to enjoy that while surrounded by like-minded people is great. Having that passion for running and being able and willing to share and explore new places together is inspiring." ~ Nicole, Giffnock
"One of the greatest lessons running has taught me is how capable you are, that you can always go one more step and push yourself harder even when you think you can't. Whether it's a physical barrier like coming back from a serious injury, or a mental one like not feeling good enough. This has transferred to many other aspects of my life, from sport to personal life. You can always achieve more than you think, you just have to keep at it, even if no one else knows how hard you worked for it, you'll know and you'll be all the better for it." ~ Samuel, Edinburgh Lothian Road
"Since getting a bit too old and fragile for other sports, running has become the constant and variable barometer against which to test myself physically and mentally, and a vehicle by which to see more of the wild places around Scotland.
Ultras and long runs through the hills are so juxtaposed to fast running on the roads that it never gets stale. For me, running is a singular pursuit that offers infinite opportunities." ~ Chris, Edinburgh Lothian Road