A few months ago, my inbox pinged with a new email.
Inside was a letter from one of my Run With Turia members (Run with Turia is the running program I made for Mums!). I read it once. Then immediately read it again. And then cried while I read it a third time.
It still makes me cry every time I read it.
Here it is:
I’d just left the house (zero out of four kids asleep, house trashed and messy etc). I was still doing my warm-up walk when a Mum ran up to me.
“Have you seen a little girl in a pink top? I can’t find my daughter….”
It’s 8 pm, getting dark, on a walking track next to the river… with multiple exits off onto suburban streets.
I start looking and loop back to Mum – no sign of her daughter. It’s been 5 mins, the sun is setting. Mum is crying and trying to run along looking for her. She thinks maybe she went in that direction. I tell her I’ll run ahead, and tell her to call the police.
I feel so hopeless, my own kids safe at home.
But I CAN run.
So I run.
And I look, and I ask everyone on the way and everyone is now looking for this little girl… people pushing prams and walking dogs, all looking. I run to the next playground, almost 2km away.
I’m thinking maybe I’m overreacting, maybe she is safe with Mum already, surely a 5yr old can’t wander off this far. I tell myself I’ll just look over the next hill, just in case. And I look down from the top of the hill, and 100m ahead there is a little girl in a pink top with a few other runners crouched around her trying to help.
She looks frightened.
I scream out “Tell her that her Mum is coming!! She’s behind me but I’ll let Mum know!”
And then I turn and sprint back to Mum. And she bursts into tears when I tell her that her daughter is up ahead. We hug and she runs off towards her daughter.
Now I’m crying and running home and 1km later I find the police and her father and grandparents and I am bright red and huffing and puffing and I tell them that she’s ok. I tell them that she’s just up past the next playground and this beautiful grandmother bows her head to me in thanks and I have never been so bloody grateful that I CAN RUN.
It was all I had to offer tonight and it was enough.
9 weeks ago I could only run for 10 mins and I didn’t get very far.
Today I did the fastest and most important 3km run I’ve ever done.
Thanks for helping me run again after a 10-year hiatus.
You’re crying too, right?
I’m so proud of the crew inside RUN with Turia. And I love getting to share in moments like these with them.
Because learning how to run, or returning to running, is empowering. And it’s about so much more than just “getting fit”.
Doing hard things, like running, returning to work, or stepping your way through a really tough time teaches you that you are capable of doing other hard things!
So, I’ll leave you here with this:
Hold your loved ones tight.
And know that you are capable of more than you realise.