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And then I did it: How running helped Petra to overcome challenges

Each of our 261 Club members has their individual stories about how they joined their local meet run. Find out more about their first running steps and how it changed their lives. Be inspired by their stories!

Being active can help you to overcome challenges in many areas of your life. For Petra it was running that helped her heal psychological problems, now she leads a healthy and happy life. Be inspired by her running story:

"I live in a small town with my husband and one of my daughters, the older daughter moved out and studies at university. We live in a house with a cat, a dog, a rooster and a lot of chicken.

I've been working in controlling for a small company for the last 23 years. In general, I like my work, but I've noticed through the years that my free time is my source of joy and my work life becomes less and less important.

In my free time I love travelling (my husband unfortunately doesn't, we have to make a compromise), I like hiking and being active. My favourite room in our house is the kitchen, I love cooking and baking just as much as I love eating.

I am at work from Monday to Friday and I need to get up really early at 5.30 a.m. In the mornings I can do some household chores and then I go to work. At work I sit all the time, that's why I try to integrate activities every day. I go running, cycling, do yoga, swimming or do my daily workout on the crosstrainer. In summer I like working in the garden, I cultivate plants to wind down from work. My children have always called me "old woman" because I go to bed really early. I like going to bed at around 9 p.m. to let the day come to a relaxed end.

Just like every housewife, I do grocery shopping for my dear ones (which I don't like), I cook (which I like), clean (I'm indifferent about that), act as a taxi driver, walk the dog, feed the chicken, ... Most importantly, I get to spend time with my family, listen to their fun and less fun stories and talk about my own experiences. Of course, I also have to go to work, where I appreciate the team spirit with my colleagues and my tasks are the part that just has to be done. I am lucky to have time for myself besides all these tasks. I had to learn how important that is to switch from "I have to work" to "I like doing this". Running helped me a lot, because I can clear my head and relieve stress.

In spring 2019 I attended the Club 261 Austria info-event and decided to join the group. We have two very engaged Coaches who motivated me to run with them. But I wasn't a complete beginner back then, I had been a runner for years.

I used to have psychological problems for a couple of years and my doctor recommended to start doing endurance sports additionally to taking medication. I tried to start running a lot of times and didn't succeed. Then we got a dog and I was forced to be active with him, so I started running and noticed how much I benefited. I haven't taken medication now for years and I consider this my biggest succes, because my health is my top priority. Sports has become an inerasable part of my life, my body longs to be active and it's even better if I can enjoy it with other people.

The reason to join my local 261 Club was the info-event. The Coaches were very positive and inspiring, it was such a motivating evening! I was curious to find out how it feels to run in a group and hoped to discover new running paths. It was also a good chance to meet new people.

The meet run exceeded my expectations: I met new women and made friends, which I appreciate most. I joined running events for the first time in my life, which I would have never done by myself. Thanks to the regular meet runs and the group pressure I manage to fight my inner couch potatoe and go running in "bad" weather, when it's raining or hot - you can do everything!

I gained more self-confidence, because I know that it's legitimate for me to be active. I always thought that I was the slowest runner on earth and that I wouldn't be able to run with others. Now I've found my place in a group where I can be myself and that's enough. I am not the fastest (and I don't expect to be), I am not the slowest and that's fine the way it is.

Being part of the 261 Club Austria I learned to allow myself to run more slowly if my body needs that. I wasn't a professional runner before, but realizing that it's ok to be slow is good for my running and for my everyday routine.

The group at my meet run is quite big and diverse. The best part ist that we take into consideration how fit each of us is and also beginners are welcome. The 261 philosophy of inclusion plays a big role in that.

I love being part of the group because it gave me the possibility to establish new relations that became friendships - and what's better than that? I never wanted to join clubs, because I don't like the group dynamics and I didn't want to feel any pressure. With the 261 Club it's different, it's very easy-going. That changed my view on clubs in general.

My favourite thing about the meet runs is the social aspect, meeting new people - not only during the meet run, but also at events with a different crowd. Our group meets every Monday and that, in fact, makes the start of the week a lot easier.

First and foremost, I want my family to stay healthy. Sports is a very important part for me, mentally as well as physically. I don't set goals that are too high, I can appreciate the little things. I went hiking this weekend and watched a group of beautiful capricorns. If I have to define a goal, this might be it: Experiencing and enjoying days like this over and over again."

Wow, what an impressive story! Petra tried many times until she managed to start running, but she did it. Now it's your turn: Find your local 261 Club on the map and take the first step!


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