07/18/2017


Meet Paula Kreiner a 261 Fearless Coach

Like many of us, Paula wonders why she didn’t start running earlier. Here she reflects on all the benefits it has given her and how 261 Fearless has enriched her life.

I wonder why I never thought of running earlier. Now it seems such an obvious choice for someone like me who is always on the go. I’ve been “running around” my whole life … running around the office, racing through the shopping centre to get the shopping done, running around the garden, … Now of course, taking up running as a sport about four years ago seems so logical! Why didn’t I think of it before?

Hindsight is notoriously easier than foresight! Part of the reason I didn’t run earlier is that I’d always assumed that I couldn’t run! This is strange as I’d generally assumed I could do anything I set my mind to. I’d grown up in a very supportive family environment and attended an all-girls school, where we all assumed the world was ours for the taking. Looking back however I can’t recall ever really seeing women run or hearing stories about women running and I suspect this lack of role models was partly responsible. Now I see women running all the time and am sure this visibility, this normality of women running played a part in me taking up running four years ago.

Now I run for the sheer pleasure of running. For the freedom of movement, the feel of wind and sun on my face, but mostly because I just can! I love the ease of running … just popping on my running shoes and taking off. I run at home and I run on holiday – the ‘portability’ of the sport is one of its great attractions. Running complements my regular aerobic sessions giving me a valuable outdoor option. I personally am convinced that running has made me not just happier but also healthier – not one day off on sick leave since I started running!

Being part of the 261 Community is an absolute bonus! I joined about two years ago and became a coach in September 2016. We meet on Thursdays and I love each and every running meet! The club is a great idea and the women and girls I’ve met - both here in Austria and in Wray during our trip to England last year - are simply wonderful. We don’t just run together, we celebrate together. We celebrate Christmas, the New Year, Easter, we celebrate our annual women’s race in August, we celebrated when one of our members completed her Ph.D. Recently, we even celebrated this past weekend hiking up a mountain in snow shoes, together with family and friends. For me these are the important rituals of a well-functioning community. A community that offers a sense of fellowship and belonging, yet one that is also always open to ‘newcomers’! I experienced this open armed welcome myself when I went to my first running meet.

I’m now fifty with, as I like to say, still half of my life ahead of me (I’m an optimist by nature!). I feel fitter and more content than ever. I’m never going to be a great runner, but I am a runner! When I first ran 5K I thought that was pretty amazing, then I ran 10K. This year I’m aiming for 21K! That’s what being fearless does to you !

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