Over the last couple of weeks, I have been amazed by the response "The RUN SMILEY collective" has been getting. Not bad for a drunken experiment. We have been honoured to have the sort of numbers and stats a lot of blogs take months and years to collect, (This blog included). But at the RUN SMILEY Collective, we don't really care about numbers. What we do like though, are the stories people have shared. The (now) 25 or so authors have created such beautiful and up-lifting posts I am now getting mails about how runners have been inspired and have changed the way they see running. This is what it's all about! Like a new strain of fungus we are getting everywhere.
The last couple of days or so, these emails of affirmation have lead me to think about where my RUN SMILEY attitude comes from and like a bad D-list hollywood actress (who has won some award or other) I am going to ramble for what may seem like hours.
I am going to keep the list short. You can all breathe a sigh of relief. (This will only SEEM like hours). I am not going to do a Gwyneth Paltrow here. There are loads of people who have shaped the runner I am. Most would be from the running world and they pretty much know who they are. Just look at the list of authors in the Collective to see who have been my inspiration. They all had a similar attitude from "my" get-go *cough* 2+ years ago, hence why I asked them aboard.
So I am going to use this post highlighting the inspiration of one man who probably doesn't realise how important to RUN SMILEY he is. My Dad.
My Dad isn't a runner, (he was more a cyclist in his younger days). In fact my Dad is wheelchair bound. He has (like most of our family) suffered from the blues and yet, his daily goal in life is one that is so positive, he brings joy to the people around him. Even people he actually doesn't know. Before you ask he isn't a Circus clown - although he might reveal that was a secret ambition as a kid. He's a bit perverse like that ;) He spent his working life, all 27 years of it, as a Policeman; a cop. A job I am fairly sure many of us wouldn't want to do; a job I know meant he saw parts of society we all pray we never see.
He has had a very rough trot in life over the last couple of years. I won't go into the details, however events in his life would make most people want to hole up and not venture out. Yet he attempts to go out every day and achieve his daily goal. His aim is to make at least ONE person smile/laugh a day. It's such a simple goal, but one most people never would consider to attempt. Perhaps they just don't realise that this is something they could do. Perhaps they feel it's something they feel they can't do. I don't know why, but just think how great life would be if people did set out with the aim to make one person smile that day.
A simple joke in the aisle of the supermarket. Offering to help someone hold the door. A self-deprecating wise crack comment as you pass someone in the street. Maybe even just a stupid grin when something unexpected happens. Acting the fool, making fun of your faults, pretending to be 6. These are all achievable things you can do regardless of your social-confidence level. Most people take themselves and their life too seriously. Don't they know how liberating it is accepting your faults and making fun of them. For me, I have to do this - If I didn't I would probably end up being the most insane and boring person on the planet. Instead I am only the second most insane and boring person on the planet.
Through adversity -through the nastiness in life which my Dad has seen- my Dad still goes out of his way to see the joy in life. In my view it's his most admirable trait and one I have sub-consciously tried to emulate.
This attitude has tainted my life and made the natural ups and downs easier to cope with. Practising "his" daily goal has made my running better, because now it's fun. In the end, wanting to spread this attitude has lead to "The RUN SMILEY collective".
So even though my Dad can't walk, let alone even run, I think it's fitting that he is an 'honourary" member of the Collective. I mean without his big red nose and [singular] floppy shoe (sorry, he only acts the clown, I must remember that bit), we wouldn't be spreading the RUN SMILEY love around!