Running for wellbeing is no sweat

The physical and mental health benefits of running have been a game-changer for Canterbury dairy support farmer Emma Sampson.

“I’m a better person and a better parent to my three boys if I’m keeping active and doing something I enjoy,” Emma says.

Emma sold her horses at the beginning of 2021 and decided to focus more on running as a way of staying fit and healthy.

“I also wanted to have something to work towards, so I started entering competitions and have completed 10 so far.”

The first competition she entered was the Valley Ultra, taking part in the 10km Teacup race.

“I really enjoyed it and the people and the atmosphere were amazing.”

Her biggest race, however, was the Coast to Coast (Mountain Run) in which she came third in her age category.

“It was amazing, and I couldn’t believe I came third. I didn’t know anybody but as soon as I started running, I buddied up with four others. It was so much fun and everybody was so welcoming,” says Emma.

“It was lovely placing but that’s not the main reason I run. The main reason is that I like doing it and I’m a better person for having that time out and endorphin release.”

Running suits busy lifestyle

Emma, who is originally from the UK and has lived in New Zealand for 17 years, runs 3-4 times a week and says it suits her busy lifestyle.

“I just throw on a pair of trainers and can run pretty much anywhere so it’s really easy to fit it in.”

She has noticed a big improvement in her physical and mental health.

“Farming can be stressful and running provides a great release and keeps me on an even keel and helps me see things clearer,” she says.

“I’m slowly getting better and faster, and running makes me feel so good. That feeling you get when everything clicks into a good gear is so great, plus the views are beautiful.

“Sometimes you have good runs and sometimes bad runs. But even if you have a bad run, it’s better than having no run at all.”

Allow time for yourself

 Emma says it’s important to allow time for yourself and actively make it happen.

“Even if it’s just 20 minutes to go for a run, walk or bike or something. You’ll feel so much better for doing it, even if you can’t get off the farm, just do something for yourself on the farm.”

Emma describes herself as a busy person mentally, which makes it hard to switch off sometimes.

“I’ve been doing sleep meditation podcasts to calm my mind down at the end of the day which help me switch off. I also do a bit of painting, which helps too.”

As for the future, Emma has some more competitions coming up and can’t wait to see how far she can go.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what I’m capable of and what I can do.”

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